ISA WINWire March 11 - 18 2011

No matter the immediate global impact on industry and the economy, it will pale by comparison with what the Japanese nation and its citizens are currently going through. ISA’s thoughts and prayers are with them all.

Updated: Massive earthquake, tsunami hit northeast Japan

Source: Peter Clarke, Colin Holland, EETimes, March 11 2011

A massive earthquake has hit northeast Japan that, together with a resulting tsunami, has caused loss of life and extensive damage. Countries around the Pacific rim, including the United States and Canada, and Pacific islands are on a tsunami alert, according to reports. The earthquake was 8.9 in magnitude and struck at 14:46 local time (05:46 GMT) under the ocean 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Tokyo, according to reports. The shock has caused fires in Tokyo and elsewhere and hundreds of people are reported dead, according to BBC News. The death toll is expected to rise. The map from the BBC Web site, shows the epicenter on the earthquake about 130 kilometers (80 miles) due east of Sendai.

Singapore takes R&D initiatives to green its electronics

Source: Damian Chan, Director, Electronics Singapore EDB in EETimes, March 11 2011

The demand for environmentally-friendly products and energy efficient solutions is increasing because of rising awareness of climate change. This has given rise to various R&D initiatives to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. Singapore's electronics industry, a key pillar of the city-state's manufacturing sector, is prepositioning itself to tap on opportunities in green technologies such as energy harvesting, power management, green lighting and printed electronics. We see green electronics as an exciting, innovation-intensive growth area that builds upon Singapore's existing electronics capabilities in IC design, wafer fabrication, and LED manufacturing.

Roll back duty on components, IT & electronics makers urge FM

Source: The Economic Times, March 11 2011

IT and electronics manufacturers have asked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to roll back additional duty imposed on components and also make special additional duty on importers non-refundable. Three associations representing electronics products and IT hardware have said that the budget favours foreign manufacturers over indigenous players. Earlier, the industry had praised the budget proposal to increase funds for education, national knowledge network and use of the IT for government projects as promoting the growth of business opportunities for IT sector.

Toshiba partner says chip production resumes

Source: CIOL, March 14 2011

Toshiba's main facility producing flash memory used in tablets and smartphones has resumed production after the Japanese earthquake and chip prices could rise due to the setback and logistic problems. Shares of memory maker Micron rose 1.41 percent and SanDisk, which partners with Toshiba to manufacture NAND flash memory, was flat as investors speculated chips prices could rise if global supplies are interrupted. Toshiba's main NAND facility in Yokkaichi, near Tokyo and down the coast from the epicenter of the quake, was not seriously affected by the quake, but briefly shut down production, SanDisk spokesman Mike Wong told Reuters.

Intel buys Egyptian communications startup

Source: Peter Clarke, EETimes, March 14 2011

Intel Corp. has announced it has acquired most of the assets of Sysdsoft, a privately held software company based in Cairo and hired approximately 100 of the company’s electrical engineers and computer scientists. Sysdsoft Ltd. (Cairo, Egypt), founded in 2002, develops software stacks and designs RF and analog circuits for the physical layer domain for use embedded in mobile platforms. The acquisition was done through a standalone business entity Intel Mobile Communications, formerly the mobile business unit of Infineon Technologies AG, but the price of acquisition was not disclosed.

‘We will see healthy growth in semiconductors this year’

Source: Goutam Das, The Financial Express, March 14 2011

Steve Sanghi, chairman of the Board, president and CEO of Microchip Technology is one of the rare Indians to lead a global semiconductor company. The Nasdaq-listed firm is a major supplier of microcontrollers—a highly integrated chip that contains the processor, non-volatile memory, volatile memory, a clock and an I/O control unit. Microcontrollers make all kinds of products intelligent—air conditioners, remote controls, TV, alarm clocks, hair dryers, refrigerators, security systems, lights, switches, and automobiles among others. The company has seen rapid growth in its fiscal year 2011 ending March and expects to grow from $948 million in FY10 to $1,486 million this year. In an interview with Goutam Das, Sanghi talks about the chip world and his plans to ramp up India operations. Excerpts:

Semicast: Renesas tops list of car chip suppliers

Source: EETimes, March14 2011

Renesas Electronics was the leading supplier of semiconductors to the automotive sector in 2010, according to a report from Semicast Research, followed by Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Freescale Semiconductor and Bosch. Renesas, which was formed following the merger of Renesas Technology and NEC Electronics, had an estimated market share of 11 percent. At second place, Infineon had an estimated market share of 7.9 percent, closely followed by STMicroelectronics with 7.7 percent. Freescale, which for many years had the top spot in the segment, had only about half of Renesas' market share at 5.8 percent, with Bosh gaining a spot at the top five with 5.5 percent.

How Bavaria became a European silicon valley

Source: Julia Kollewe, The Guardian, March 15 2011

The mention of Bavaria may still conjure up images of rowdy beer halls, oompah bands and red-cheeked folk in dirndl and lederhosen, but the state capital, Munich, is revamping itself as Germany's answer to silicon valley. The southern German state – the country's most prosperous together with its neighbour, Baden-Württemberg – has tried hard to shed its buttoned-up image. Historically an agricultural region that lacked natural resources, its transformation into a more hi-tech economy began after the second world war. That doesn't mean Bavarians have given up their traditions. Michael Hinterdobler, director of international relations at the state chancellery, says both Bavarias are thriving: "There has been a renaissance. Young people go out with their iPod but also have a dirndl at home. It's not a contradiction any more."

Sony shuts down operations voluntarily

Source: evertiq, March 15 2011

Operations at several Sony Corporation and Sony Group sites and facilities have been affected by earthquake and tsunami. Sony also has responded to reports of widespread power outages by voluntarily suspending operations at several sites. No significant injuries have been reported to employees working at any of these sites when the earthquake or tsunami occurred.

IBM extends tie-up with universities

Source: The Economic Times, March 15, 2011

The global move to foster innovation has found many takers and IT major IBM is no different. Its global university relations programme came to India a few years ago, but in the past 18 months, the company has taken it to a new level altogether. "We work with about 100 engineering colleges across the country . The aim was, initially, to acquire talent for the company, but we realised there is a need to grow the talent pool too," says Bhooshan Kelkar, country manager of IBM India University Relations.

U.S. immigration policies cause dearth of talent

Source: SiliconIndia, March15 2011

The U.S. is at a risk of falling behind in the global race for talent due to Washington's immigration policies that have caused slowdown in the entry of highly-skilled foreign workers, a study here said. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas which released its 2010 yearly report said the U.S. needs highly-skilled foreign-born workers, who actually contribute more to the American economy than take away, but strict numerical caps on employment-based visas have caused the slowdown in the entry of highly-skilled migrants. According to the latest statistics, immigrants with more than a high school education contributed $105,000 more in taxes than they used in public services, while lower-skilled migrants actually cost $89,000 more than they contributed in taxes during their lifetime.

India's solar power mission on schedule

Source:, March 16 2011

The Union Cabinet has expressed satisfaction over the progress of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), India's ambitious mission to ramp up its solar power hundredfold by 2022 and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The progress of the mission's implementation is as per schedule in the last one year, a statement issued after the cabinet meeting said, reports IANS. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has successfully sanctioned 802 MW capacities of grid-connected solar projects and 36 MW of off-grid solar projects.

SME sector: Opportunities and challenges in Chennai

Source:, March 16 2011

SME sectors are exposed to greater opportunities in India. The Indian market is growing rapidly and Indian entrepreneurs are making better progress than ever. Chennai, popularly known as the Detroit of Asia, is the base of 30% of the automotive sector of the country and 40% of the auto components. In addition, Chennai has a cast pool of engineering colleges, polytechnics and a very highly qualified entrepreneurial base and a port to boot. Can the auto and engineering cluster of Chennai become a global manufacturing hub? An illustrious panel including, Sanjiv Mantri, GM, ICICI Bank, KS Jayraman, CEO and director technical, Autotech Industries, Kumar Kandaswami, senior director, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, India, Dr P K Ananthanarayanan, HoD, Mechanical and Automation Engineering Amity University, Ajay Kumar Bishnoi, chairman and MD, Techpro Systems, discuss the opportunities available to the SMEs and the challenges they face in Chennai.

Tech industry crippled in quake aftermath

Source: Kat Asharya, Mobiledia, March 16 2011

The list of tech-related businesses hobbled by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan continues to multiply, with battery makers, semiconductor companies and LCD display makers facing shortages and slowdowns that may affect mobile device makers in coming months. The global supply of rechargeable batteries may take a hit with plant closures by Sony, while halt of shipments may hurt supplies of circuit chips used in mobile devices. Prices of components like LCD panels and memory chips could rise due to shortages sparked by the earthquake, which has damaged factories and wrecked the transportation and power infrastructure critical to manufacturing. Overall shortages and delays of these critical components may affect prices and delay launches of products reliant on Japanese parts, beginning with the rechargeable batteries included in so many mobile devices.

Economic hit from Japan quake seen up to $200 billion

Source: Leika Kihara, evertiq, March 16 2011

Japan's devastating earthquake and deepening nuclear crisis could result in losses of up to $200 billion for the world's third largest economy but the global impact remains hard to gauge five days after a massive tsunami battered the northeast coast. As Japanese officials scrambled to avert a catastrophic meltdown at a nuclear plant 240 km (150 miles) north of the capital Tokyo, economists took stock of the damage to buildings, production and consumer activity.

Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami: semiconductor and solar impacts

Source: Isaac Leung, Electronics News, March 16 2011

More details and analysis have emerged about the extent of the impact of Japan’s continuing earthquake and tsunami disaster on the semiconductor industry. In Electronics News’ previous report on the impact of the Sendai earthquake and tsunamis on the electronics industry, semiconductors were briefly mentioned. However, with recurring aftershocks, the developing situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and both power and materials in short supply, the outlook for the semiconductor industry in Japan, and by extension, globally, is increasingly grim. In February, we reported on the possibility of problems emerging if semiconductor inventory levels continued to rise. With so much of Japan’s production capacity now offline, this is now a distant fear – in fact, shortages and price rises based on supply and demand are the words on everyone’s lips.

Chip prices jump as Japan quake threatens supply

Source: CIOL, March 16 2011

The prospect of extended supply disruption caused by Japan's devastating earthquake drove prices for key technology parts higher on Tuesday. If the supply chain is broken for even a few weeks, the impact could be felt in higher prices or shortages of gadgets such as tablets, smartphones and computers for months to come. Japan is a dominant chip industry player, with around one-fifth of the world's semiconductor production. From component makers to electronics firms and automakers, Japanese companies are keeping plants shuttered.

Japan quake impacts electronics supply chain

Source: Mark LaPedus, Peter Clarke and Dylan McGrath, EETimes, March 16 2011

The widespread damage and flooding that have resulted from the powerful earthquake that rocked northeast Japan last Friday, triggering a tsunami and resulting in loss of lives and properties, are expected to severely curtail technology manufacturing, at least for a period. Both government and company officials have yet to confirm the state of several wafer fabs located in the prefectures closest to the powerful earthquake. During earthquakes, factories, which are built to withstand them, normally suffer little damage and at most incur loss of work in progress. However, the 8.9-magnitude tremor may have been too strong to leave the factories undamaged. The devastation is so massive that it may take many days to restore electricity and water supplies, and transportation links.

Asia rises in automotive arena

Source: Christoph Hammerschmidt, EE Times, March 16 2011

A study conducted by consultancy firm Roland Berger on "Automotive Landscape 2025" forecasts many changes in the automotive industry—including changes in the related electronics business. The study, which involved almost all of Roland Berger's 39 offices around the globe, identifies a number of technological and business trends. It says that over the next 15 years, the global automotive industry will be nothing like it is today. According to the study, the two most relevant trends for the automotive industry are the increasing market share of electric, and even more pronounced, hybrid cars. According to the study, electric vehicles will account for about 10 per cent of new vehicles, well above current European estimates. The German government, for example, targets a share of e-cars of only 1 per cent. Even though this target will be reached already in 2020, in a global scale, electric vehicles apparently will gain acceptance much faster than in Germany. Hybrid vehicles will gain share even faster; the study predicts that in 2025 their share will touch the 40 per cent mark.

What drives women out of engineering jobs?

Source: SiliconIndia, March 16 2011

Even though half of the 3,00,000 engineers India produces every year are women, it is a sad but true fact that none of the Indian IT companies have been able to hold more than 30 percent of their women employees in their job after the first 2 years. This is despite the fact that some of the Tier-I companies have been able to bring out women friendly policies. If you think, India is the only country facing this issue, it may not be true. Even the biggest economies like U.S. face this hurdle. Despite years of hard academics, women comprises only 20 percent of engineering school graduates and only 11 percent of practicing engineers are women, reveals a study done at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Over 3,700 women with an engineering graduation participated in the Project on Women Engineers' Retention (POWER) which was aimed at understanding factors related to women engineers' career decisions.

Most Japan fabs survive 8.9 quake

Source: EETimes, March 17 2011

The semiconductor industry may be profoundly impacted by the sudden reduction and capacity and the disruption of the materials supply chain that may make many of the materials used in chipmaking harder to come by. Japanese suppliers accounted for more than one fifth of global semiconductor production in 2010, wherein companies headquartered in Japan generated more than a fifth of all chip revenue, $63.3 billion, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli. On Monday the firm warned that while there are few reports of actual damage at electronic production facilities, the impact of the quake on Japan's transportation and power infrastructure will result in disruptions of supply, leading to short supply and rising prices of electronic components, including NAND flash memory, DRAM, MCUs, standard logic, LCD panels and LCD parts and materials. IHS also noted that Japan is the world's largest supplier of silicon used to make semiconductors, accounting for about 60 percent of the global total.

Report: TSMC's 2011 growth target still 20%

Source: Peter Clarke, Techonline India, March 17 2011

Morris Chang, chairman and CEO of foundry chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) has said its sales growth target of 20 percent for 2011 will not be changed by the consequences of the Japan earthquake, according to a Reuters report. The business impacts of the quake could include a slowdown in the second and third quarters and, if chipmaking equipment companies are affected, an effect on TSMC's growth in 2012, the report referenced Chang as saying. TSMC has set its sales growth target at 20 percent in terms of U.S. dollar, the report said. This is considerably higher than most forecasters' expectations for the semiconductor industry overall, which are set at between about 5 percent and 10 percent.

The looming semiconductor tsunami

Source: The Next Silicon Valley, March 17 2011

Like the tsunami that followed Japan's devastating 8.9 earthquake last Friday, the real impact on the global technology industry is just beginning to gather momentum. "This is monumental." That's the Japan quake-tsunami assessment of Future Horizon chairman Malcolm Penn, who has assessed the impact on the semiconductor sector and its inextricably linked global supply chain. During an interview with Bloomberg TV in Europe this afternoon, Penn predicted that memory chip prices could "double" as a result of looming shortages in the manufacturing supply chain. Expect a ripple effect, and price increases, across all products containing semiconductor devices.

New Venture Partners portfolio company, Silicon Hive, acquired by Intel

Source: EDACafe News, March 17 2011

New Venture Partners, the global venture capital firm dedicated to corporate technology spin-outs, today announced that its portfolio company, Silicon Hive, a spin-out from Philips Electronics (Philips), has been acquired by Intel Corporation (Intel). Silicon Hive was incubated by Philips to commercialize parallel processing technology for semiconductor Systems-on-Chip (SoC). In 2007, Philips decided to spin out Silicon Hive as an independent, venture-backed company. New Venture Partners structured the transaction, transitioning the Silicon Hive business -- team, relationships, products, technology and related intellectual property -- out of Philips and into a start-up company. New Venture Partners led the Series A investment in Silicon Hive with initial participation from TVM Capital.

India has 89,000 MW renewable energy potential

Source:, March 17 2011

India has potential to generate about 89,000 MW of power from different renewable energy sources. This is excluding solar energy which has been estimated for most parts of the country at around 20 MW per square km of open, shadow free area covered with solar collectors, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said. A total grid interactive renewable power generation capacity of around 18842 MW has been set up as on 31st January, 2011, which is over 11% of the total power generation installed capacity from all sources in the country, the Ministry added.

Heartfelt condolences to the family from ISA and ESDM industry

Compiled by ISA Research

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