TOKYO, Japan, January 6, 2014 – Haruo Matsuno, president and CEO of Advantest Corporation (TSE: 6857, NYSE: ATE), recently delivered a New Year’s address to employees, outlining the company’s major goals for 2014:
Happy New Year, everyone!
In 2013 the global economy managed to move forward, albeit sometimes at a crawl. In the USA, a brief federal government shutdown did not derail the country’s continuing recovery, while on the other side of the Atlantic, in Europe, glimmers of light were seen at the end of the recession tunnel. Japan, meanwhile, saw the announcement and implementation of a new growth strategy, and China is working to ensure a smooth transition from rapid growth to stable growth.
Global demand for smartphones drove relatively robust growth in the semiconductor market, but this did not lead to increased investment in semiconductor production equipment. The semiconductor test equipment posted an especially dramatic contraction.
2014 Will Be A Better Year
The semiconductor production equipment market is poised to recover impressively in 2014, as last year’s semiconductor market growth percolates down to the SPE market. However, we can never be sure whether forecasts will be borne out by reality, so we must proceed cautiously, storing up energy to release in an explosive bid for growth if and when our business environment does recover. That way, we can make 2014 a better year for Advantest.
Specifically, we must aim to expand sales without slackening our cost-cutting efforts; lower our breakeven point; and generate substantial profits. In the tester and handler markets, we will aim to improve our share by launching new products and establishing a supply structure that anticipates the appearance of market opportunities. Our peripheral and nanotechnology businesses are now beginning to repay our long-term investment in them, and we expect another burst of growth in these areas in 2014. Additionally, this year will see the complete integration of the Advantest and former Verigy IT systems, which is expected to deliver significant efficiency gains.
The semiconductor test equipment market is expected to grow in 2014, but it is not thought likely that this growth trend will continue unbroken in the future. Therefore it is crucially important for us to expand our new business. We will continue to direct resources to these enterprises, including W2BI, our terahertz products, CloudTestingTM Service, and our MEMS business.
Our ADVenture initiative has attracted many new business proposals from around the world, and the best of these have now advanced to the marketing stage. I expect that the coming year will see some of them go into development.
A Sixty-Year Tradition Continues
In 2013, the Shinto shrine of Ise Jingu, in Mie Prefecture, Japan, launched its "shikinen sengu" process. This is a ritual rebuilding, undertaken once every 20 years, in which all the shrines of the complex are rebuilt from scratch. It also serves as a way to transmit traditional skills to a new generation. The Pyramids and the Parthenon have lasted a long time, but they have turned into monuments, and it would be extremely difficult to duplicate them today. Ise Jingu has lasted 1,300 years so far by being rebuilt at 20-year intervals.
Advantest will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding this July. If we had a "shikinen sengu" of our own, this would be the year for our third one. Going forward, we will work to ensure that our core competence of measurement technology and our mission to support technology on the leading edge will continue to be transmitted to new generations, while we continue to engage with new technologies and new ideas from the standpoint of our own traditions. Our 60th year is set to be marked with accomplishments.
Note: All information supplied in this release is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change without warning.