KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 19): Global semiconductor industry chip sales are expected to grow to US$1 trillion in the early 2030s as the global economy is seen returning to pre-pandemic growth levels in 2021 on the back of an uneven gross domestic product (GDP) rebound.
Speakers at the US-based Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) virtual Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) expect global semiconductor revenue to grow in 2021.
In a wrap-up of the event on its website yesterday, SEMI quoted Citibank managing director and global chief economist Catherine Mann as saying that global GDP is expected to return to a 5% growth rate this year and rise to more than 7% in late 2021 or 2022 on the back of widespread availability of Covid-19 vaccines, though the 2021 net gain will be slight after a 4% contraction last year.
Mann said the US and China, together accounting for 50% of global GDP, will drive much of the recovery.
“China has returned to its pre-pandemic GDP growth rate and the US is not far behind, with projections that the world’s largest economy will normalise growth in the second quarter of 2021 (2Q21).
“The prospects reflect consensus forecasts of economists polled by Citigroup,” she said.
Mann said Europe, the world’s third largest economy, is not expected to restore economic growth to typical levels until 4Q22.
“Among emerging markets, Latin America is forecast to return to pre-Covid-19 growth no sooner than 2023, with those in Asia riding the coat-tails of China to a faster recovery,” she said.
Mann said that trade growth across the world’s economies will also “remain asynchronous”.
Meanwhile, cloud computing will be a key force behind chip industry growth in 2021 as cloud infrastructure build-out drives higher server demand stemming from the pandemic-inspired surge in online shopping and increasing adoption of the public cloud, said Andrea Lati, the vice-president of market research at VLSI Research.
Lati said a doubling of fifth-generation (5G) smartphone shipments and surging 5G base station deployment following the 2020 slowdown will also fuel the semiconductor industry expansion this year. One big contributor: 5G smartphones feature at least 50% more silicon than 4G models.
Lati said semiconductor industry sales will increase 8% this year as memory leads the recovery — DRAM and NAND are forecast to grow 13% and 12% respectively.
The global information technology (IT) infrastructure buildout, 5nm demand ramp and continuing liquidity measures by central banks will also help drive industry growth in 2021.
Lati predicted a bright future for the chip industry as technology figures prominently in much of global economic growth over the next 10 years.
Equipment and semiconductor sales are expected to reach US$200 billion and US$1 trillion respectively in the early 2030s.