SEMICON West: Frontend and backend together again?

May 24, 2004 – Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) officials are looking at numerous ways to add value to the SEMICON shows, including the possibility of re-unifying SEMICON West under one roof.

“Moscone added a new building, Moscone West, that brings space up in San Francisco fundamentally equivalent to what we’ve been using in San Jose,” Dan Martin, SEMI COO, told WaferNews in an exclusive interview. “[We’re considering] consolidating the show in San Francisco. We’ve been looking at that very, very closely.” The show’s growth forced SEMI to split it into two parts in 1997. SEMI has contracts to use the San Jose Convention Center through 2005, and would face penalties if it backs out.

Martin couldn’t comment on when, or even if, the show would re-unify. “We are very, very close to a high percentage probability that we’re going to make that decision to unify backend and frontend very soon,” said Martin. “We’ve done a lot of research on this, and we’ve received overwhelming support for doing this.”

Several member company executives also spoke to WaferNews, most noting an industry-wide perceived need to at least tweak the shows. The concept of a single flagship show featuring both frontend and backend companies would doubtless make a lot of member companies happy.

“I hope we’re in touch with our members to the extent that we hear it all, and I think we are,” said Martin. “Fundamentally, our expositions are extremely important to our members; that’s demonstrated by their continued participation.”

Martin added that SEMI understands that exhibitors care greatly that they get a return for the investment in the SEMICON shows. “That’s a key, high-level issue that we hear a lot about,” he said. “We care very, very dearly about making sure we’ve got the appropriate value proposition for our member companies and our exhibitors.”

Martin said SEMI is trying to tweak the shows with three strategic goals in mind. First, they’re trying to increase the value of the event for both exhibitors and attendees. SEMI also is opening the shows up to a participation model, where even companies that aren’t exhibiting can get value from the shows. In addition, they’re trying to reduce costs, in part by working with their global contractors to drive down their costs, ideally passing those savings onto member companies.

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