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Blog: NEDIA to hold electronic device forum in Kyoto in October

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"The IT industry is inexorably approaching maturity. Sure, the recent surge in orders for semiconductor production equipment may lead people to imagine that the go-go times are about to return. But unless the electronic device industry finds new growth vectors, the future won't be bright," said Akira Minamikawa, one of Japan's most respected semiconductor industry analysts.

The electronic device industry has been enjoying brisk growth, underpinned by plenty of business centering on PCs, TVs and smartphones. However, demand for these products appears to be plateauing. The big exception is the rapidly expanding market for smartphones, whose worldwide boom is expected to continue for a while.

But what's next? It seems the industry has yet to find powerful new applications capable of taking over once smartphones lose their mojo.

Rising to the challenge, the Nippon Electronic Device Industry Association (NEDIA)—formed last October when the Japan Semiconductor Ventures Association (JASVA) combined with three semiconductor-related industry associations—will hold a forum in Kyoto on October 30-31. It will be the largest event of its kind ever held in Western Japan.

The forum will break new ground by focusing on electronic components, meaning pretty much everything except semiconductors and display panels. So the event will cover passive components—resistors, condensers, coils transformers and the like, as well as connectors and switches, power supplies and ultra-compact motors, while also including PCBs, sensors, MEMS, and functional components.

The global market for such electronic components, which was worth around 20 trillion yen, roughly US$200 billion, in 2013, and whose growth momentum surpasses that of semiconductors, is vitally important to Japanese manufacturers. Whereas they have a 43% stake in this market, they account for only a tad more than 10% of the of the 30 trillion yen a year worldwide semiconductor market. While Japanese chipmakers' production is running at about 3 trillion yen per year, the figure for electronic components is 9 trillion yen, three times larger.

Kyoto-based companies are active across the electronic components domain. The city is home to several manufacturers that are global champions in their markets, such as Murata Manufacturing in laminated ceramic condensers or Nidec for micromotors. Kyocera, a leading supplier of package materials, is also from Kyoto.

Also numbered among the high achievers from Kyoto are Omron, a leading supplier of MEMS, Rohm, an influential semiconductor manufacturer that is also a major supplier of electronic components, and Nichicon, a powerful contender in capacitors. Dainippon Screen, the well-known supplier of semiconductor and flat-panel production equipment, is headquartered in Kyoto and has major plants in and around the city. Horiba, which is the world's leading supplier of exhaust analyzers and mass flow controllers used in semiconductor production, began as a venture company in Kyoto. So it is fitting that the forum is being held in Kyoto, the historic city that is the entrepreneurial hub of Japan's electronic components industry.

The NEDIA forum has three themes: next-generation automobiles, social devices, and next-generation mobile devices, including wearables. At the event, the future direction of the semiconductors, displays and electronic components used in these applications will be discussed.

As for keynote talks, Hideki Shibata, senior fellow of Toshiba Semiconductor & Storage Company, will address the topic of global collaboration through device and system platforms, and Tadahiro Ohmi, senior research fellow at Tohoku University's New Industry Creation Hatchery Center, will share his thoughts on the new phase of silicon VLSI technology brought about by scaling. I will be there too, as the third keynote speaker, talking about emerging M2M applications.

I will focus on the impact of the M2M applications that will consume vast quantities of semiconductors and sensors. Since virtually everything and every event will eventually be connected to the Internet through sensors and modules, gargantuan demand for semiconductors and devices is in prospect, greatly exceeding that attributable to conventional IT devices. I will also touch on the future of key applications—medical, aerospace, automotive and high-speed rail—and the devices they will require in order to achieve their tremendous potential.

The program's 14 sessions will consist of 38 lectures. The forum is expected to attract at least 1500 participants.

Related site:
Electronic device forum Kyoto (in Japanese)

Related articles:
Blog: NEDIA, a new industry body to align Japan's electronics industry for success (Nov. 11, 2013)
NEDIA, new industry body to promote linkage in Japan's electronics industry (Oct. 28, 2013)

Contributed by Wataru Izumiya, President, Sangyo Times, Inc., the publisher of The Semiconductor Industry News. Translation by SemiconPortal-EmergingTech from Japan

Translation by EmergingTech, which added the links.

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