[News] ASML Points to Chip Industry Recovery Amid Export Control Risks

2024-02-15 Semiconductors editor

The demand for Dutch semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML serves as a trend indicator for the industry. The company optimistically stated in its annual report that the chip industry has hit rock bottom and is beginning to show signs of recovery. However, it also cautioned that geopolitical tensions and the potential expansion of US export controls on China remain operational risks.

ASML’s Chief Financial Officer, Roger Dassen, stated in the annual report for 2023 released on the 14th, “We believe that the market has now reached the lowest point of the dip, and although we cannot predict the exact nature of the slope ahead, the recovery is nascent.”

He further pointed out, “The longer-term trends are unmistakable – artificial intelligence, electrification, and the energy transition are happening,” which bodes well for ASML’s business.

However, the ASML annual report mentioned, “The list of Chinese entities impacted by export control restrictions has increased since 2022,” and “The list of restricted customers and the scope of the restrictions were subject to change.”

According to TrendForce’s analysis, while Chinese semiconductor fabs will be unable to purchase NXT:2000i series tools and newer from 2024 onwards, they will still have access to older models like the NXT1980i. This allows them to continue expanding their capacity for manufacturing processes of 28nm and above.

In last month’s financial report announcement, ASML indicated that it anticipates export controls from both the United States and the Netherlands to result in a decrease of approximately 10% to 15% in sales of its mid-range DUV equipment to China this year.

Regarding the 2023 record of ASML’s DUV sales, Dassen also explained in the interview accompanying the financial report that the strong performance in China’s business in 2023 actually stemmed from orders placed at the end of 2022, with the execution of these orders taking place in 2023.

In 2023, China surpassed South Korea to become ASML’s second-largest market, accounting for 26.3% of sales, while Taiwan maintained its leading position with sales accounting for 29.3%.

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(Photo credit: ASML)

Please note that this article cites information from ASML