At present, the oversupply of the semiconductor market has led to a surge in channel inventories, which has impacted the supply and demand of the entire market. Many market research and investment institutions have been pessimistic about the performance of the semiconductor industry in 2019. Most semiconductor manufacturers have also revised down capital expenditures in 2019, and the overall market is headwind. What everyone is most concerned about is when the current overcapacity situation ends. Is it possible to restore the hot market conditions of the past two years in a short time?
In fact, with the weak demand for smart phones, the demand for automotive and industrial applications has also decreased, and the price of virtual currency has fallen sharply. Since November and December 2018, the capacity utilization rate of wafer foundries has declined, with chip production. The calculation of the 2-month production cycle, the rate of the subsequent period of testing, will also gradually appear to be significantly loosened in the near future. Coupled with the external environment, such as the impact of Sino-US trade friction, the overall semiconductor industry demand is weak, so that the current semiconductor market continues to be in the stage of digesting inventory. Among them, the foundry of the foundry, TSMC, released the news of the current decline in capacity utilization, which also caused the utilization rate of the latter stage to be loosened. The industry estimates that most manufacturers will lose their first quarter revenue in 2019. In the case of 10% to 15%, the economy is flatter than expected.
Based on the above factors, most of the current market organizations believe that the global semiconductor economy will move towards low growth in 2019, and there is also the possibility that it will move toward negative growth. For example, foreign capital Morgan Stanley pointed out that the actual production of the semiconductor industry increased by 22% in 2018, but the market only digested 15% of the increase, and there are still 7% excess capacity waiting to be digested, which makes the digested inventory will be 2019. A big challenge for the year. Therefore, it is expected that the cyclical downturn of the global semiconductor industry has not yet bottomed out, and the growth rate of industrial output value in 2019 will be reduced from negative growth of 1% to negative growth of 5%.
However, in 2018, the semiconductor industry will enter the main cause of oversupply, and memory is absolutely the key. Because of the previous expansion, the memory supply demand has led to a decline in memory prices, coupled with weak growth in demand for end products such as PCs, servers and smart phones, which has led to a slowdown in revenue growth for major memory vendors. Therefore, manufacturers have recently slowed down the pace of new capacity to slow down the price decline. It is estimated that the total sales of global semiconductor manufacturing equipment in 2019 will decline for the first time in four years.
Another reason for the decline in global semiconductor sales in 2019 is the decline in demand for smartphones, which has reduced the investment of Chinese and South Korean manufacturers. The development of the semiconductor boom cycle from 2009 to 2018 is mainly due to the popularity of smart phones caused by technological advancement, and the popularity of smart phones has also brought prosperity to the mobile phone processor, memory, lens and other industries. However, the current penetration rate of smart phones is saturated, and sales bottlenecks have caused the semiconductor industry to shrink.
According to the statistics of relevant units, although the global semiconductor sales in 2018 will reach a record high of US$62.1 billion, an increase of 9.7% over 2017, it will decline for the first time in 419 in 2019, to US$59.6 billion, a decrease of 4%. . Even if the global sales of semiconductors is expected to rebound in 2020, it will reach a level of US$71.9 billion. However, the industry outlook is still unclear, and the overall market conditions are still not to be seen.
In the future, despite the rise of new applications, such as artificial intelligence, 5G Network and Internet of Things, etc., may make the demand of the semiconductor industry pick up again. However, these current application technologies are still in their infancy, and although the industry has high expectations for this, it may be difficult to digest the inventory in the short term. It must be expected that the cyclical decline of the semiconductor industry will end, and it may grow at a faster rate due to the demand for various new applications. Therefore, market research institutions will rebound in the 2020 semiconductor industry, and the reason is here.
However, in the current market, although the shipments of smart phones have declined, structural innovations including fingerprint recognition, dual-lens, and three-lens have emerged, and the demand for semiconductors is still maintained. In addition, in other fields such as wearable devices, smart home appliances, and automobiles, the slow increase in demand has also maintained the slow expansion of the overall demand for semiconductors. The application of these products, coupled with the establishment of future artificial intelligence, 5G networks, Internet of Things and other related architectures, has the opportunity to push the semiconductor industry to the next level.
However, it is worth noting that the semiconductor industry itself has shown signs of a partial cyclical end of development, that is, an increase in the difficulty index of technological progress, which has led to a decline in technological innovation. For example, the gradual slowing down of the Moore's Law effect has made the development difficulty index of the process technology below 7 nanometers increase, and the companies such as Gexin and UMC have abandoned the research and development of advanced processes. Therefore, how to develop new semiconductor technologies and applications in the existing technology may be an important issue facing the overall semiconductor industry in the future.