Ahead of a new era
~We're standing at the threshold of a new decade~
Happy New Year, everyone!
We originally anticipated a significant sales decline in fiscal 2019, due to worries about a downturn in the global economy, but Advantest's results in 2019 were better than expected due to an increase in 5G-related demand for testers, and we were able to revise our full-year forecast upwards.
2020 too is likely to be a year of recovery and growth, with positive growth expected in the global economy, the semiconductor market, and the semiconductor test equipment market. As we approach the final year of our mid-term business plan, our business environment seems to be relatively favorable, and it seems highly possible that we can achieve the plan's target. I would like us all to enter 2020 with the ambition of setting a new annual sales record, following the record-high sales we posted in FY2018.
On the other hand, looking around us, the prolonged trade friction between the United States and China, the risks attendant on Brexit, tensions in the Middle East (Iran) and North Korea, and the threat of natural disasters including large typhoons and earthquakes, add up to a risky environment. Moreover, in our competitive business environment, attacks from our competitors will continue to accelerate. If we were to slack off even a little, our market share would soon be in danger. We must not forget that we are operating in a world characterized by VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity), and we must grow continuously to succeed.
2020 marks the beginning of a new decade. In Asia, it is also the first year of a new zodiac cycle (this is the Year of the Mouse). In Japan, a new era began last May when the Reiwa Era was inaugurated. So, we really are at the start line of a new era right at this moment.
The 2010s were an eventful decade. Ten years ago, the world economy was struggling with the aftermath of a destructive financial crisis, and some even thought the future of the semiconductor industry was in danger. Since then, however, the spread of smartphones, and concepts such as the IoT and AI, which are fast becoming realities, have become powerful drivers of the semiconductor industry, and it has once again entered a strong growth cycle. Advantest, too, saw sales fall to 53.2 billion yen in 2009, but bringing in new Advantest group members, and reforming our organization, helped last year's sales to reach 282.5 billion yen, more than five times the total of one decade previously.
In the 2020s, the world will surely continue to change. In addition, the pace of change is likely to be extremely fast. Standing at the start line of a new era, speedy and flexible action is required of us. As a learning organization, Advantest must continue to evolve.
You can think of the new The Advantest Way, revised last July, and currently being enforced via global training sessions, as our guidelines for surviving the new era. Our Core Values expressed by the acronym "INTEGRITY-and integrity itself-are values shared by all employees of the Advantest Group. Do not just act for your own benefit, but focus on working sincerely to offer value to society. I believe that being a useful member of society leads to sustainable development. As also expressed by the SDGs, we must continue to contribute to society through our business activities.
The digital transformation, which promises to solve various social issues with technology will continue to develop for the foreseeable future. Our mid- to long-term management policy includes the phrase "Tested by Advantest." Even in the new era, semiconductor volumes will climb dramatically as chips become the basis of social infrastructure, and the need for semiconductor test solutions which can assure high reliability will continue to increase. Let's take our first steps together in this new era with confidence and pride in our identities as people in a field that is essential to society's future.
Note: All information supplied in this release is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change.