Why semicon industry sees big opportunity in Covid-19 crisis

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on April 10, 2020

The global semiconductor industry could suffer a decline of 0.9 per cent this year due to the Covid-19 impact, says Gartner   -  REUTERS

Expects huge storage demand from data centres, laptops as work-from-home increases

As Covid-19 rattles economies, transforming the way companies conduct their businesses, the semiconductor industry is among the most impacted, as foundries have had to shut operations even as supply chains are severely disrupted.

The industry, however, sees an opportunity in the unprecedented crisis. As companies shift to work-from-home and people begin to consume more content on digital platforms, the importance of storage solutions for data centres, laptops and other gadgets has gone up.

“As work-from-home increases, more data get stored on the cloud and more collaboration tools get deployed, we see a spike (in business) in the server, data centres and computing segments,” Sandeep Aurora, Vice-President (Business Development and Government Affairs) of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), told BusinessLine.

“In the technology space, we don’t see any demand reduction in the long run. There are disruptions in the short term as expected and there might be some supply-side pain for the short term,” he said.

He added that all the companies have plans ready for a rapid bounceback on manufacturing as the shutdowns end in a staggered manner. “We hope the long-term impact will be minimal,” he said.

Terming Covid-19 a black swan event, Aurora admitted that it comes with short-term pain and inconvenience which the industry is currently grappling with.

“But the important part is what we are learning from it and how we are using this learning to plan for the future. In our opinion, the electronics and semicon industry will come out stronger from this crisis and be ready for the future,” he said.

He pointed out that the crisis is resulting in frugal innovation, particularly in the fields of medical equipment sector. He hoped that the crisis would lead to newer business models with technology at the centre.

Slight decline possible

Meanwhile, research firm Garner said the global semiconductor industry could suffer a decline of 0.9 per cent this year due to the Covid-19 impact on semiconductor supply and demand. It was earlier predicted that the industry would witness a growth of 12.5 per cent.

The revenue forecast for 2020 has now been pared by $55 billion to $415.40 billion.

Micron Technology, a US-based chip design and storage solutions company, has said it sees a stronger demand from data centres due to remote-work economy, increased gaming and e-commerce activity.

Data centre demand in all regions looks strong. There has been increase in demand for notebooks to support work-from-home and virtual learning, the firm said as it released the financial results for the quarter.

Published on April 10, 2020

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