SEMI and Foxconn Envision Prosperous Future for Compound Semiconductors
The global chip shortage and related uncertainty in the automotive electronics supply chain have countries around the world focused on semiconductors as critical enablers to the future of high tech. In addition to the silicon-based semiconductor industry chain, compound semiconductors and power semiconductor devices have become driving forces for the development of next-generation technology.
Taiwan serves as a leading hub for the silicon wafer semiconductor supply chain and third-generation wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, making SEMICON Taiwan a key annual event for the industry. Before the physical exhibition of SEMICON Taiwan 2021 in December, SEMI will kick off the event with online forums from September 7 through November 30 on five key technology areas: Compound Semiconductors, Smart Manufacturing, ESG and Sustainability, Smart MedTech, and Cybersecurity.
Terry Tsao, Global Chief Marketing Officer at SEMI and President of SEMI Taiwan, recently discussed technology trends with Young Liu, Chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn), as a prelude to SEMICON Taiwan’s five online forums.
Liu: What is the future development of compound semiconductors? As many countries in the world are also trying to deploy in this area, what are Taiwan’s competitive advantages and opportunities?
Tsao: With the arrival of the era of 5G, electric vehicles (EVs), and smart Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the growing demand for radio frequency (RF), optoelectronics and related technologies, components and applications really have taken the global market and investments of power and compound semiconductors to the next level.
According to the SEMI Power and Compound Fab Report to 2024, worldwide fab data for power and compound semiconductors are on the rise driven by growing demand for 5G, electric vehicles, green energy, data centers, biomedical, and both industrial and consumer IoT applications. The report projects that power and compound semiconductor revenue will increase by approximately 20% to a record high of US$7 billion in 2021 and to continue growing in 2022 to reach US$8.5 billion.
Taiwan has a very good foundation and growth momentum in the silicon-based semiconductor industry, and the world recognizes Taiwan’s vital role. It is fair to say that Taiwan has a complete semiconductor industry supply chain and has stepped up from a follower to a leader in the global semiconductor community.
Tsao: How important do you think Taiwan’s compound semiconductor industry is? How can Taiwanese companies build a comprehensive ecosystem?
Liu: As the global electric vehicle industry takes off, Taiwan can actually try to replicate its success in silicon semiconductors to WBG semiconductors in the process of building an EV industry chain. Considering that the demand for WBG semiconductors in the EV industry will definitely go far beyond what we can supply, this will be an excellent opportunity for Taiwan. I believe Taiwan will have another sacred mountain in terms of its experience with WBG semiconductors.
Tsao: How does the government connect with the industry in Taiwan?
Liu: The government’s support for the semiconductor industry is widely recognized, but when it comes to talent development in the semiconductor field, there is still so much left to be done. Given the government’s close relationship with the semiconductor community, more measures can be taken to consolidate Taiwan’s key position in the global semiconductor industry chain, such as regular exchanges with the industry, talent cultivation programs, and labor policies to more practically meet the needs of the professionals.
Liu: How will SEMI, as an international association, help Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain and ecosystem grasp future growth?
Tsao: This is a global industry, and Taiwan absolutely cannot stay on the sideline. We have been leveraging SEMI as a platform to engage in global exchanges. SEMI has closely watched the technological trends and market demands of compound semiconductors since early 2017, and we set up a committee as a platform to bridge the communication between the front end and back end of power compound semiconductors.
SEMI hosts our anticipated SEMICON Taiwan exposition every year, which includes a Power & Opto Semiconductor Forum. The forum brings together representatives from industry, government, and academia to discuss market opportunities and challenges. In addition, SEMI has long been an advocate for talent development and formulation of industry standards. SEMI strives to promote the industry to help it become more prosperous.
Tsao: Foxconn has also been proactively involved in the field of WBG semiconductors recently. What are its plans for the future?
Liu: Foxconn has bought a six-inch wafer fab this year and this is just the beginning. Foxconn will step-by-step carry out the plan and integrate cross-department R&D and production capacities within the group, and also start working with various manufacturers on semiconductor-related cooperation projects.
Watch the full SEMI video interview with Young Liu from Foxconn for additional details. (Note, the video is in Mandarin with English subtitles.)
SEMICON Taiwan 2021 Virtual Programs | Available On-demand Until Nov. 30!
SEMICON Taiwan 2021 kicks off in September with online forums on five key technology focuses: Compound Semiconductors, Smart Manufacturing, ESG and Sustainability, Smart MedTech, and Cybersecurity. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the in-depth analyses of prominent speakers from various fields on the key competitiveness of Taiwan’s next-generation semiconductors. Go to the SEMICON Taiwan website for more information on the programs.
Virtual Platform Link: Opened September 6th and will remain on-demand until November 30th.
Connie Lin is a marketing and public relations manager and Ashley Huang is a senior marketing specialist at SEMI Taiwan.