ELG produces Kroes’ 20% implementation plan

The European Leaders Group (ELG) has now produced its  report outlining how to achieve the ambition of EC vp Neelie Kroes that Europe should attain 20% world market share in the semiconductor industry.

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes

The report does not shirk  from the challenges.

The aim is to get Europe from its current 9% world share, representing $27 billion worth of annual IC output, to reach 18% of a world market estimated at $400 billion in 2020 representing $72 billion worth of output. From then on, the intention is to move to 20% share by 2025.

To do this, Europe needs to increase its capacity by 70,000 wafers per month every two years, says the report.

The report estimates that 20% market share, requires capacity of 250,000 300mm wafers per month, and says that a 50,000 wafer per month 20nm fab costs $8.9 billion.

That is the scale of  the required investment – but Kroes has got a Euros 80 billion budget to make the investment.

‘A first focus for doubling production by value is to make full use of, and expand existing production facilities in response to a higher demand for European manufactured silicon,’ says the report.

The ELG envisages public investment in manufacturing lines should not just be in &D and pilot fab lines but provide ‘support to first innovative production facilities.’

The report recognises that new business models to fund the investment may be required.

“One potential scheme might be co-investment including where customers may invest in their own wafer suppliers to alleviate potential issues,” says the report, “another could be the collaborative use of existing or new facilities – which may need to serve several companies to use the capacity to the full.”

The report goes on to look at the all-important question: how do you fill these fabs?

Since the Europe has 20% share of  the worldwide equipment and materials industries, a 12% share of the world boards and modules market, a 16%  share of the worldwide systems industry and around a 30% share in the worldwide embedded systems sub-sector there is, on the face of it, enough demand for silicon within Europe to fill fabs capable of supplying 20% of  these sectors’ collective requirement.

While Europe as a customer for systems products buys 30% of the world electronic systems industry output. This could give it power in the procurement process.

In addition to these current strengths, the ELG suggests areas where Europe must focus its talents to develop new products.

It cites e-health, smart homes, smart cities, CO2 reduction, energy reduction and intelligent transport systems where Europe could get 60% market share; automotive, energy and industrial automation where it could double the value of production by 2020-5; and mobile/wireless where it can reach ‘20% of its projected growth.’

Technology developments should include ‘very low power technoplgies, high performing low power digital technology based on SOI, photonics integration, 3D/multilayer silicon, language, compiler, debug chains for highly parallel systems, re-use and legacy and new non-volatile memory technologies.

Finally, the report urges European R&D institutions to reinforce co-operation and ‘build on its complementary strength in material, equipment, chip design, fabless activities and system integration.’

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