BANGALORE, India The global semiconductor market may have seen a slowdown the first half of this year, but the third and fourth quarters are likely to experience 5 to 6 percent growth, according to Philips Semiconductors chief executive Frans van Houten.
"We expect a similar growth rate next year too. This is good, though not great growth," said van Houten, speaking at the opening of a 700,000 square foot Royal Philips Electronics plant here.
Philips derives over 60 percent of it sales from Asia, where products are increasingly being designed. The semiconductor industry is seeing more consumer electronics companies despite lower margins, more original device manufacturers, a shift from analog to digital technology and increasing need for interoperability in a digital technology world, van Houten said.
He added that Philips is adapting to the changing needs of consumer electronics companies for differentiated features based on standardized platforms, complete reference designs and higher quality by promoting standards such as Universal Home API Consortium (UHAPI) and Near Field Communications (NFC). The NFC standard is expected to revolutionize the user-interface paradigm, van Housten said.
In India, Philips has been working on 65-nm technology for the last six months. While progress has been good, there’s a shortage of qualified engineers to handle the work, according to van Houten.
India is a likely candidate for Philips’ RF-base smart card technology for electronic passports, set-top boxes and safety solutions for automobiles. Philips is working with Indian companies on the Nexperia platform to provide mobile handsets and other products for this market.
"We have a platform that has been used to manufacture mobile handsets at under $25, and hope to bring the wholesale price down to about $20 next year," van Houten added.
Philips, which started a software center in India in 1996, plans to expand its staff of 1,600 to 2,500 by the end of 2007 and invest an additional $70 million. Of the 1,600 currently there, a third work in the semiconductor division.