Semiconductor: 2020 Predictions Vs Reality

    Kerry Consulting

    After a slow 2019 for the semiconductor industry, due to factors such as US-China trade tensions, optimism was high at the start of this year. IHS Markit, was predicting 5.9% growth in global revenue for 2020, based on capacity to meet increasing market demand.

    Even Covid-19 didn’t dampen prospects for computing chip manufacturers across key Asian markets at the beginning of 2020. These were spurred by several developments:

    • Singapore saw S$13 billion in investment in areas like electronics and infocomm media from January to April, beyond even the full-year projection by the Economic Development Board.
    • Taiwan launched subsidies and other initiatives to lure around S$1.8 billion of research and development funds by foreign technology companies, including for semiconductors.
    • South Korea heard ever-louder calls from the semiconductor industry for government support to ensure competitiveness in the face of competition from China and other markets.
    • China has started to develop more of its own computing chip technology in a bid to reduce reliance on imports and meet rising domestic demand, encouraging a wave of start-ups.

    Such trends reflect sustained confidence among many investors and businesses in the semiconductor space over the medium to long term

    However, there is uncertainty over the outlook for Asia’s semiconductor industry, at least for the rest of 2020.

    This sentiment stems from the general economic aftermath of Covid-19. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), highlighted declining global sales in the first quarter of 2020 – 3.6% compared with the previous quarter. While in line with typical seasonal trends, the Association acknowledged that the available data doesn’t fully capture the impacts of Covid-19.

    Hiring outlook for Semiconductor roles in Singapore

    The main market drivers for hiring new talent this year are in:

    • 5G
    • Autonomous cars
    • Artificial intelligence (AI)
    • The Internet of things
    • Optoelectronics
    • Sensors
    • Laser
    • EUV
    • Metrology

    In line with the maturing semiconductor industry and exceptional pandemic situation, employers are increasingly hiring talent with niche skills. This is driven by a desire to overcome these fast-evolving challenges and anticipate the future.


    Take a look at the 2020 Predictions vs Reality mini-series so far: