Japanese chipmakers have been manufacturing some products for more than two decades. This prompted an executive of Massachusetts-based aftermarket manufacturer Rochester Electronics to comment that the Japanese semiconductor industry seems to have no policies on discontinuing production of obsolete devices. Though his comment contains more than a grain of truth, Japan's chipmakers are reviewing their business practices and have started winnowing their product portfolios.
Fujitsu Ltd. is negotiating with United Microelectronics Corp. with a view to selling its 300mm wafer fab in Mie Prefecture to the Taiwanese company, and with Phoenix, Arizona-based, On Semiconductor on the proposed sale of its Aizu fab in Fukushima Prefecture, media reported. The contemplated disposals would signal virtually a complete withdrawal by Fujitsu from semiconductor fabrication.
"What happened? I've never seen such a rush of orders. As semiconductor investment has been in low gear, we can't replenish production facilities and manpower immediately. We are naturally delighted about the tremendous amount of orders, but the deadlines keep us awake at night," said a gleeful executive of a Japanese manufacturer of wafer fab equipment.
Electronic components have grown in importance to the point that they are the face of Japan's electronics industry. With input from Yuzuru Sato, an analyst with Tokyo-based DG Research, who tracks the industry, we identify what is hot and how this fiscal year is shaping up.