Semiconductor and Electronics Industry Briefing

Written by Ivan Palisoc

Dan Lachica, SEIPI President

When asked which industry brings in the most revenue to the Philippines, the top answers would usually be the BPO industry and OFW remittances. Who would have thought that an industry not so heard of and talked about would outshine these two? This, according to Dan Lachica, is the semiconductor and electronics industry.

We were lucky to have had Mr. Lachica, president of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI), as our resource person for the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry Briefing held last February 2, 2017. He shared valuable insights and knowledge about the industry, as well as updates on the current trends and projections for the rest of the year.

He started the briefing by mentioning that Philippine Electronics is a USD 29B industry, with investors usually originating from Japan, United States, and Germany. However, due to several issues brought about by the recent change in the Philippine government, investors have become a bit hesitant and are now on a wait-and-see status. They held onto their investments and put some of their expansion plans on hold due to the rise of the alleged extra-judicial killings and the death penalty bill. Some companies have even activated their business contingency plans and are now scouting for other countries where they could relocate their businesses to. What they do not know is that expatriates in the Philippines are feeling secure and happy with their operations. The industry recorded a .2% growth in 2016, a tad below their projection, but this is because of the uncertainties brought about by the recent national election and its results. For 2017, however, the industry is expecting a growth of 5 to 7% as there will always be a demand for electronics.

This demand, according to Dan, will definitely increase with the latest trends and developments in technology. In the recent Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, advancements in personal computers took center stage; more and more laptops are being manufactured to have a screen that doubles as a tablet when detached from the keyboard. TVs and computer monitors are slowly moving from HD to UHD and SUHD (high definition displays will provide more crisp and more realistic pictures for viewing); now, the race is on for those who could come up with a bigger and thinner one. Homes are also being converted into smart homes, where gadgets can control appliances installed in the house. Wearable technology is also a thing to watch out for; from smart watches, to virtual reality attachments, and health monitoring devices. There is even a dress that adjusts its color to your mood! And of course, how can we forget one of those nice-to-have things we only saw in movies; the self-driving car is now a reality. Hence, transportation will also be transformed.

Artificial intelligence is being infused into our lives for a quicker and more efficient way to live. According to the World Electronics Forum, we can expect connections and computations to become faster and faster, even real-time, because of the Internet of Things; everything will soon be interconnected.

These trends and advancements brought about by technology are, somewhat, overwhelming; gadgets that make our lives easier are increasingly being made available in the market for us to take advantage of. All of these start with a simple chip, connected by wires and cables, and then mixed with all the “magic” are brought to us by the semiconductor and electronics industry.