Japan chip equipment demand surges in May

July 7, 2006 – Worldwide demand for Japanese-made semiconductor manufacturing equipment continues to rise, with orders up 7% sequentially in May, and sales surging nearly 30%, according to data from the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ).

Japan-based equipment manufacturers posted bookings of 167.26 billion yen (US $1.44 billion), a 7.4% increase from April, and an 80.9% increase from a year ago, as an 18% gain in wafer processing equipment orders more than offset a 12%-14% dip in sales of assembly and test equipment. Billings of 114.96 billion yen ($988.6 million) were up 29.4% from April and 29.9% from May 2005, thanks to a 48% spike in sales of wafer processing tools. The book-to-bill ratio (B:B) for May was 1.16, vs. 1.10 in April and 0.91 in May 2005, meaning that ¥116 worth of new orders was received for every ¥100 of product billed for the month.

Based on a three-month moving average, worldwide orders of Japanese semiconductor manufacturing equipment were 169.17 billion yen ($1.45 billion) in May, 4.2% higher than April and 44.2% higher than May 2005. The three-month average of sales came to 145.58 billion yen ($1.25 billion), down 1.2% sequentially but up 13.3% from a year ago.

Domestically, Japanese equipment orders were down 18% sequentially to 79.14 billion yen ($680.58 million), due to a 25% slump in wafer processing tool demand, but were up 65% compared with the same period a year ago. For sales of chipmaking tools, a similar slide in frontend equipment was more evenly offset by increases in test/inspection equipment, resulting in a 1.3% gain month-on-month, and a 68% increase year-on-year, to 62.12 billion yen ($534.2 million). The domestic equipment B:B was 1.09, compared with 1.17 in April and 1.29 a year ago.


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