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3Q09 Growth Sectors Forecast: Smart and small

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Foundry utilization rebound during this quarter is a telling moment.  Over the past few weeks, I've been talking about the positive numbers that are coming in, little by little - some perhaps more aggressive than we dare to believe in yet, but with a roughly 10% increase in utilization happening at the foundry level, there are more concrete reasons to believe again.   TSMC is certainly holding the lantern high and forecasting strong sales guidance for 2009F, as compiled and charted in this Fabtech blog.

According to sources to DigiTimes Research, as published 4-15-09:

the [overall foundry manufacturing utilization] sector may see [... a] rebound slightly to 50-60% in the current quarter, buoyed by increased orders mainly from the domestic Chinese market [...], as well as more inventory restocking for 3G wireless handsets.

[...] The global netbook market will reach a scale of 27.7 million units in 2009, up 90% from 14.5 million in 2008.  the growth projection outperforms the estimate for the overall notebook market of a 13.2% increase.

These forecasts are echoed through mainstream presses as well, here and here and here, underscoring that a bottoming out for PC, netbook and smart phone/3G sectors has occurred and demand strength is gaining.  With this strength, new competition is likely to be seen as some make new moves into these sectors to ride the swelling wave.

Echoing the analysts' views, Paul Otellini, CEO Intel, was quoted in The Washington Post here, as stating: "We are seeing signs that a bottom in the PC market segment has been reached [...].  I believe the worst is now behind us from an inventory correction and demand level adjustment perspective."

Similar statements from Nokia to The Wall Street Journal here, further the positive outlook: "'The market is no longer falling in a uncontrolled manner, I am encouraged by the signs of stabilization seen at the end of the first quarter,' said Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo during a conference call." 

Estimates for smartphone growth (not handsets in general!), from components to the entire smartphone handset itself, are coming in between 50-75% for this and next year.

In sum, despite initial worries over the impact of netbooks diluting sales for PCs, netbooks and their cousin, smartphones, are able to strongly attract today's reluctant consumer.


Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Thursday, 16 April 2009 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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