Hong Kong ranked first among the world’s largest exporters of semiconductor chips in 2021, with $229.336 million.
This value represented a year-on-year rise of 36.5%, according to data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department.
The high demand and importance of semiconductors are clearly visible in the current global chip shortage.
Semiconductors are a key ingredient in many sectors, such as communications, consumer electronics, automotive, transportation, clean energy, aerospace and defense.
To cope with this increased demand, major chipmakers have increased and accelerated their plans to invest in new fabs and additional capacity.
Combined with ongoing innovation needs, new investments in the industry will result in a huge demand for innovative materials.
The vast majority of Hong Kong’s exports go to China, the world’s largest industrial producer.
For companies such as Merck, for example, the semiconductor industry is the most important market for its materials business for the production of integrated circuits (Semiconductor Solutions).
In particular, the growth in demand for semiconductor materials depends on the surface area of semiconductor wafers produced.
The silicon wafers required as raw material are used as an indicator for estimating the demand for semiconductor materials.
According to the global industry association SEMI.org, the surface area of silicon wafers supplied increased strongly, by approximately 13.9 percent in 2021 (2020: 5.3 percent).
This growth is driven by the ongoing acceleration of digitization through Covid-19 and the resulting increase in demand for digital end applications (laptops, PCs, gaming) and digital infrastructure (network, servers, 5G).
Driven by the aforementioned acceleration of digitization and the resulting exponential growth of data, there is an enduring need for semiconductors in all device end markets.
Merck expects the targeted semiconductor materials market to grow strongly, with minor cyclicality.