The Federation of the Electronics Industry (FEI) has predicted that the UK and Irish electronics market will benefit from a worldwide turnaround in the semiconductor business, achieving growth of around seven per cent this year.
But senior officials at the organisation have criticised the Conservative government for not doing enough to help the homegrown industry.
Danny Thomas, freshly appointed chairman of the Semiconductor Market Analysis Committee, and also UK marketing manager for Siemens' memory business, said that the market is on the turn. ?In 1995 a million GSM phones sat unsold on shelves because the demand wasn?t there,? he said. ?The market has been flat for some time but it will be sustained by the growing set-top box market.?
He said distributors had a tough time because of falling prices in 1995 but the trends were looking better. ?The general demand for electrical components will always be there,? he said, predicting that in the 1998/99 timeframe, the communications market will grow by 23 per cent, with PC components expanding to 25 per cent from the flat level they had last year.
He said growth in the market will be fuelled by added demand for memory products, whether for PCs, set-top boxes, NCs or mobiles. But the FEI?s predictions depend more and more on consumer demand, Thomas warned.
Ray Ambrose, who steps down as coordinator of the group, said: ?1999 will see MMX being established, a big consumer boom and a growth in the Internet in both the UK and Ireland.?
General conditions were better worldwide, he said. ?This year we?ll see nine per cent growth and the book to bill indicator shows the market has turned.?
But the Tory party has not helped home growth, a senior official at the group said. ?I don?t believe the Conservative Party has done enough for semiconductors and promoting medium sized British companies to become competitive. The Conservatives could have helped them by opening up diplomatic channels and making it easier for companies to export.?
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