Feb. 15, 2023 /SemiMedia/ -- According to Nikkei Asia, John T CLee, CEO of MKS Instruments, an American chip manufacturing equipment supplier, recently stated that the current downturn in the chip market is only a cyclical downturn. In the medium and long term, the industry is still expected to grow at a healthy rate.

MKS is a supplier of electronic subsystems, including RF power supplies and lasers for chip manufacturing and other fields. The world's top semiconductor equipment manufacturers Applied Materials and Lam Research are their customers. In 2021, MKS acquired Photon Control, a supplier of optical sensors used for temperature control in chip manufacturing. In 2022, MKS acquired specialty chemicals company Atotech.

"We've been through this many times, maybe capex in the chip industry will drop from 2022 to $70 billion this year, but ten years ago it was $35 billion, which was a good year, now we're saying $70 billion is a bad year," John T C Lee said.

Regarding the transfer of supply chains, Lee predicts that South Korea and Taiwan will remain important chip manufacturing centers in the future. "As long as Samsung, SK Hynix and TSMC remain chip leaders, I think South Korea and Taiwan will continue to be important strongholds for semiconductor manufacturing," Lee said.

Lee further stated that there will be more chip production centers around the world, especially in American and European countries such as the United States and Germany. “It might not be very efficient at first, but I think once you build a hub, it becomes very efficient. The infrastructure now supports multiple fabs, not just one,” Lee said.

Lee emphasized that the unprecedented shortage of semiconductors in the past two years has made people aware of the importance of chips and their ecosystems.