Components > Advanced Semiconductors Blog

GaAs industry in line for happy 2010

by Asif Anwar | 12月 22, 2009

Twelve months ago, the GaAs and compound semiconductor industry was caught deep in the fall-out of the economic crisis, with production at a near-standstill.What a difference a year makes! The gloom has been banished, replaced by widespread optimism, market growth and plans for company expansions.Almost without exception, the GaAs RFIC manufacturers who entered 2009 with trepidation have witnessed a strong recovery (see our latest Compound Semiconductor industry reviews). Some will even expect to post revenue growth from 2008 to 2009 – unthinkable a year ago. III-V component vendors are also witnessing the long-awaited commercial breakthrough of GaN for RF applications, courtesy of demand for more efficient hybrid line amplifiers in cable TV infrastructure. At least two GaN vendors are targeting a product ion ramp in early 2010 as operators look to cut energy consumption (see Strategy Analytics’ forecast for device demand in CATV here). But it is the light-emitting diode space that gives the greatest cause for optimism. Key equipment companies have noted a huge build-up in orders (see our November Insight here), largely the result of an expected surge in demand for LED backlights used in TVs from 2010 onwards. Strategy Analytics’ latest report on this emerging sector forecasts that, by 2013, TV applications will swell the market for LED chips by some $7.5B – more than doubling the size of the entire current market – while helping to usher in the solid-state lighting revolution in the process.Evidence to back up this anticipated explosion in demand for LEDs is now widespread, with significant capital-raising activity leading to major expansion plans announced by LED makers, substrate material vendors and equipment suppliers alike. Overall, then, it’s been a transitional year for the compound semiconductor industry. Having emerged from the global recession in a leaner but meaner form, it can now look forward to what is shaping up to be a very happy 2010. Asif Anwar
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