TOKYO Japan's realigned semiconductor industry is showing signs of renewed strength after a decade of decline.
The Committee of Silicon, a group consisting of Japanese polysilicon and silicon wafer manufacturers, projects that 2004 production, sales and exports of both polysilicon and silicon wafers will reach record high volumes.
The committee, which is part of the Japan Society of Newer Metals, includes all eight Japanese wafer suppliers. It projected at the beginning of the year that production of crystalline silicon wafers would grow 15 percent this year to 5,600 tons. By the end of June, production volume was already 5 percent ahead of that projection.
Production of polysilicon, the material used in silicon wafers, is now projected to be 5,700 tons this year. At the current pace, production, sales and exports of polysilicon will top this year's projection, which was the largest projected total in the group's history.
The challenge for member companies this year is finding the resources for large-scale investment to expand production of advanced products, especially 300-mm wafers, while maintaining profitability, said Tadashi Tokimoto, senior executive officer of Komatsu Electronic Metals, Co. Ltd., and acting committee chairman.
Demand for 300-mm wafers took off in the second half of 2003, meaning manufacturers are now coping with swelling demand.
The committee said production, sales and export figures for polysilicon and single-crystal wafers in Japan were based on reports from member companies. Member companies' production in Japan accounts for nearly all 12-inch wafers and about half of global 8- and 6-inch wafer production.