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 user 2005-07-16 at 10:20:00 am Views: 44
  • #12008

    China Is Hot, But Not for All

    SAN FRANCISCO – Semicon West keynote speaker Tien Wu of ASE Inc. told his audience that his discussion might get philosophical, and he was right. Without quoting French classical author François de la Rochefoucauld directly, the president of ASE’s Americas and Europe division proved once again that “The only thing constant in life is change,” this time in terms of technology.“This is the only business where you can take a wild guess as to what will happen in 10 years and be right 50 percent of the time.”

    Wu’s keynote address focused on paradigm shifts that have occurred and are occurring in the high-tech industry. Moves to data processing in the 1980s were followed by moves to communication and then to information driven technologies in the mid-1990s. Now, he said, we are moving into our next paradigm shift toward life science, intelligent applications and machine-to-machine connectivity.

    These technologies, Wu predicted, will thrive here in the United States and not in China, the current semiconductor hot spot.

    “Our objective is to optimize core value within each life cycle and prepare for the next paradigm shift.”

    Wu credited China as a low-cost manufacturing capital, but, based on human psychology, he said the hot spot for the next life cycle wave – which will include life science applications such as biometrics – will not be a system based on cost. Rather, this next paradigm shift will be based on the best IP and how buyers “feel” about the device.

    “As applications move closer to the body, human psychology plays a more important role in buying decisions,” he said, noting that when things are very far away from you, you care less about reliability than you do about cost.

    “With my ink jet printer, I could care less. As things are closer and closer to the body, I worry. Cell phones are not inside of me, but I worry about style because I have to carry that on me. When you think about semiconductor implants inside the body, I can assure you I’d buy the most expensive one.”

    China, he reiterated, is based off a low-cost infrastructure map. But as this lifecycle evolves, innovation and cost will play different roles.

    “The philosophy here that you have to think about is that China is very different from the United States,” Wu said. “You either go or you don’t go. It depends on how you view your business, how do you feel about the value proposition and what are your aspiration on where you want to go.”

    He concluded: “If you are in the military or life sciences, this is the place to be. But if you want a high volume business, you have to go to China and you have to figure out what is the value proposition — what is your core value, what can you bring to the market that the China dollar will embrace.”