SIA Blog

Semiconductor Industry Primer: The Stages of Production and Business Models

Posted by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy on Feb 25, 2015 2:00:00 PM

[Note: This is part one of a series on the semiconductor manufacturing process and the associated industry business models.]

Often, I am asked by people new to the semiconductor industry how semiconductors are made. While the science and engineering behind how semiconductors are made is akin to modern day alchemy and the process is quite complicated, I try to answer this question by outlining the three basic stages of semiconductor production and describing how semiconductor firms choose to participate in this production process.

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Topics: semiconductors 101

New Immigration Policy Will Increase Access to Talent, Strengthen U.S. Semiconductor Industry

Posted by Dustin Todd, Director of Government Affairs on Feb 24, 2015 6:30:00 PM

In a meaningful, incremental step forward in the effort to reform America’s high-skilled immigration system, the Obama Administration today announced a new regulation that will allow spouses of certain high-skilled immigrants working in the U.S. to apply for work authorization of their own. This common sense initiative will increase companies’ access to the world’s top talent and help spur growth in the U.S. semiconductor industry and our economy, but additional high-skilled immigration reform is urgently needed.

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Topics: Counterfeit semiconductors, immigration

Tech Leaders Urge Congress to Swiftly Enact Trade Promotion Authority to Strengthen Economy, Open Markets

Posted by John Neuffer, President & CEO on Feb 12, 2015 11:00:00 AM

SIA and a coalition of technology leaders today urged Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, which would help the United States negotiate and finalize key trade agreements that will lower tariffs, boost U.S. exports and create jobs:

“TPA gives the U.S. one voice on trade … [It] strengthens our country's negotiating position and provides our negotiating partners the confidence they need to give us their best offers – resulting in the strongest possible agreements for American businesses and workers.”

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Topics: trade

How Did the Global Semiconductor Market Reach Record Sales in 2014?

Posted by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy on Feb 6, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Last November, when I wrote about industry sales through the third quarter of 2014, I said that it was hard to envision final 2014 sales not being the highest annually on record and that a more interesting question to consider was whether final 2014 annual sales would surpass the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics’ (WSTS) forecast at the time of 6.5 percent growth, which WSTS later revised to 9.0 percent growth.

As the final 2014 Global Sales Report revealed earlier this week, 2014 annual sales were indeed record-breaking at $335.8 billion, and annual growth did indeed surpass not just WSTS’s old forecast of 6.5 percent but also its revised forecast of 9.0 percent, coming in at 9.9 percent. Besides the annual year-over-year record sales increase in 2014, quarterly year-over-year and monthly year-over-year (December) sales also grew by 9.3 percent each.

The table below compares 2014 monthly global semiconductor sales totals (on a three-month moving average) with monthly sales totals from 2009 through 2013. From the start to the end of 2014, monthly sales were consistently ahead of the pace set in each of the previous five years. [Source: World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) data]

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Topics: GSR

Implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement Inches Closer Following U.S. Letter of Acceptance

Posted by Devi Keller, Director, Global Policy on Jan 27, 2015 2:00:00 PM

SIA welcomes the news that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman formally delivered the United States’ letter of acceptance of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to the WTO Director in Davos, Switzerland on Friday. Delivery of the letter was a welcome final step in U.S. acceptance of the Agreement.

The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO’s 160 Members have completed their domestic legal procedures and submit letters of acceptance. So far, three Members have submitted letters: Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States.

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Topics: trade

SIA Commends Introduction of Bipartisan I-Squared Act to Reform High-Skilled Immigration System

Posted by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs on Jan 20, 2015 1:00:00 PM

SIA last week sent a letter to Senate leaders in support of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (I-Squared Act), legislation introduced last week by a bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn).

“The I-Squared Act would strengthen the U.S. economy and promote innovation by making important improvements to the H1-B program and the green card program,” wrote SIA president and CEO Brian Toohey. “These necessary reforms will help spur innovation and create thousands of high paying manufacturing and research jobs here in America.”

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Topics: immigration

What’s the Outlook for Semiconductor Industry Priorities in the New Congress?

Posted by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs on Jan 5, 2015 10:30:00 AM

As we prepare for the official start of the 114th Congress on Jan. 6, it’s a good time to assess the election results and the landscape for semiconductor industry priorities in the new Congress.

The most notable change in Washington from the 2014 elections is that Republicans gained the majority in the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2007. Republicans also expanded their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, meaning Congress is now more solidly Republican than it has been at any time during the Obama presidency.

Given these changes, here’s the outlook for several of the industry’s top policy priorities in the 114th Congress:

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Topics: immigration, IP, tax, trade, research, patent reform, intellectual property, patents

How to Stop Counterfeit Semiconductors

Posted by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs on Dec 31, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Imagine if the complex electronics on a U.S. nuclear submarine were compromised by counterfeit microchips, or semiconductors. It might sound like the plot of an action film, but this story came dangerously close to being a reality.

Earlier this year, a man named Peter Picone admitted that he sent counterfeit semiconductors to the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Connecticut, where the chips were intended for use in nuclear submarines. Picone pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit military goods. Fortunately, the counterfeit chips were identified before they found their way into critical military systems. Should this happen again in the future, we might not be so fortunate.

How counterfeiting works

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Topics: Counterfeit semiconductors

One-Year Extension of R&D Credit is Progress, but Congress Has More Work to Do

Posted by Joe Pasetti, Director, Government Affairs on Dec 17, 2014 4:00:00 PM

On Dec. 16, the Senate approved legislation that provides a one-year, retroactive extension of the R&D tax credit, as well as an extension of bonus depreciation and the CFC look-thru rule, all of which lapsed at the end of 2013. The House passed this bill on Dec. 3 and it will soon be signed into law.

While SIA supports this legislation, ensuring that research expenses for 2014 will be eligible for the credit, we are disappointed that the bill did not enhance the incentive nor extend the credit for longer than a few weeks going forward. SIA continues to advocate for a permanent extension of an enhanced R&D credit, which enjoys widespread bipartisan support in Congress.

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Topics: tax, research

The Benefits of Including Multi-Component Semiconductors in an Expanded Information Technology Agreement

Posted by Devi Keller, Director, Global Policy on Dec 8, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Following a key breakthrough between China and the United States on the sidelines of the APEC Leaders meeting in Beijing in November, negotiators have returned to Geneva to resume, and hopefully conclude, an expanded Information Technology Agreement that extends duty-free coverage to approximately 200 new technology product lines.

Included on this list of new products are next generation semiconductors known as multicomponent semiconductors (MCOs). MCOs are the latest evolution in semiconductor technology driven by consumer demand for greater functionality, performance, and miniaturization. Simply put, an MCO is a single semiconductor device that performs complex or multiple functions previously done by two or more semiconductor devices, thanks to a variety of components integrated into a single unit.

Duty-free treatment for MCOs via ITA expansion has been a top priority for the global semiconductor industry for many years. Eliminating tariffs on MCOs will save the global semiconductor industry $150-300 million in tariffs annually, with this number only set to grow as global consumer demand for MCOs grows.

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Topics: MCO, trade