The Renesas executive did not disclose his own IC forecast, but the handwriting is on the wall for all chip makers. Nearly every market research firm, including IC Insights, iSuppli and Gartner, have recently lowered its respective worldwide IC forecasts for both 2008 and 2009.
Along with the gloomy backdrop, the U.S. housing market is down by 30 percent in terms of overall ''housing starts'' year-over-year, analysts said. And U.S. car production is projected to hit about 12 million units in 2008, down some 25 percent from 2007, they added.
It's not all doom-and-gloom in the market, especially for Renesas' core market: MCUs. Amy Leong, an analyst with Gartner (Stamford, Conn.), does not plan to change her worldwide microcontroller forecast for 2008, which stands at about 5 percent growth. "We are even seeing double-digit growth for 32-bit products,'' she said.
Despite the mixed signals in the market, Renesas is still moving full speed with its strategy. Among its stated goals is to boost its international business, expand its share in MCUs and system-on-a-chip (SOC) devices, and move into the analog arena.
In fiscal 2007, Renesas realized some 55 percent of its overall sales in Japan, with the remaining 45 percent coming from the overseas markets. The chip giant realized sales of $9.5 billion on operating profit of $423 million in fiscal 2007.
Going forward, Renesas hopes that its overseas business surpasses its domestic sales--and for good reason: It already has a strong share in Japan, but that market is flat and moving back into a possible recession. The only way for Renesas can grow is to boost its presence in China, Europe, U.S. and other markets.
In the next ''couple of years,'' the company hopes to realize 40 percent of its revenue in Japan, with the remaining 60 percent generated from the overseas markets, said Tsukamoto during a presentation at the company's first Renesas Developers' Conference in the United States.
"We have a strong presence in Japan," he said. "From now on, we should have more presence in the global markets."