I am writing this viewpoint while 2019 will close in a couple of days. If I try to summarize what happened and what is our outlook for 2020, here are my key takeaways.
First, I guess many of you agree that 2019 was tougher than expected for the semiconductor industry and this negatively impacted equipment companies. Trade tensions were not positive for the electronics market, but one consequence was that China decided to speed up its domestic IC industry, and Trymax took advantage of this. We have been doing business in China for a long time, but this year we achieved our best sales ever in this region. Prospects for 2020 looks promising, with many new projects expected.
Second, car sales have declined, and the auto IC market was flat due to excess inventory. Nevertheless, for the next few years, significant growth is still expected — IC content in cars will drastically increase with electric vehicles (EVs) and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). IC semiconductor sales should be up for 2020, and Trymax is well-positioned by already being the solution provider for many leading integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) driving this industry, including 300mm wafer size.
Third, wide bandgap (WBG) materials such as SiC and GaN seem to be the best choice for energy-efficient solutions and the industry is clearly moving in this direction. Many important announcements were made this year by various players along the supply chain — strategic investment, capacity expansion, the transition to larger wafer size, etc, At Trymax, while we deal mostly with silicon substrates, we also offer the right products for non-silicon-based materials such as WBG. So, we look forward to supporting this market in 2020 and beyond.
Fourth, even if its contribution to the global wafer capacity is limited, Europe has significant new constructions, expansions, and fabs needing to be equipped. The 2019-2020 period is probably the most dynamic it’s been for a long time. Being a European equipment headquartered company, Trymax puts a priority on winning these businesses. Our first successes came in 2019 and we will do our best to grab more in 2020. Our ambition is clear in this region — we want to remain the market share leader and gain an even higher market share.
To conclude, 2019 had some good moments and the second half of the year showed improvements. These are expected to continue in 2020. Some delays might still appear on the journey but the horizon for More than Moore applications is brighter than ever. Let’s ride it together.