The Philippines’ electronics and semiconductor industry is projecting a rebound in 2012 after a poor 2011.
Exports dropped 20.8 per cent from 2010 levels to $24.6bn last year. The slide was attributed to restricted supplies of components and raw materials from companies in Japan and Thailand whose production was affected by the earthquake-triggered tsunami in March and the floods from July-October. The economic crisis in Europe and the US, the Philippines’ two biggest markets, also weakened demand.
According to Ernesto Santiago, president of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry of the Philippines, Inc (SEIPI), the first quarter of the year will be weak while recovery can be expected to be seen from the middle of the second quarter.
“With the outlook looking positive, we are confident that the industry will rebound this year and exports return to 2010 levels of at least $31bn,” Santiago told E&T in Manila.
He predicted that growth will be driven by technology due to market demands for newer technology devices, and more applications for easier connectivity. In a similar way, the launch of tablets in 2010 boosted exports.
Santiago’s confidence was echoed by Francisco Ferrer, a trustee of Philippine Exporters Confederation PHILEXPORT. Companies, he said, have indicated they will take on more staff this year and are expecting to step up production, so growth is on the cards. Ems Components Assembly alone will be hiring close to 1,000 workers, while supply of components from manufacturers in Japan and Thailand is returning to pre-crisis levels.
Ferrer warned, though, that while the semiconductor and electronics industry is projected to grow 20 per cent, prospective buyers of Philippines products will have to be convinced of quality and competitive pricing.