Thursday, April 15, 2010

ST outlines future vision; to increase presence in MCUs and advanced analog

I had the pleasure of meeting Francois Guibert, executive VP and president Greater China & South Asia Region, STMicroelectronics, along with Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region -- India Operations and Director, India Desgin Center, STMicroelectronics, during the recently held ISA Vision Summit in Bangalore. Naturally, it was great to meet up with them again, at ST's sprawling facility in Greater Noida last week, where the company outlined its future vision.According to Guibert, ST has been the world's no. 5 semicon supplier for some time now. Its revenue was $8.51 billion in 2009. The semicon giant currently has key collaborations with Nokia, HP, IBM and Ericsson, respectively. In February 2009, the company had formed a JV with Ericsson Mobile Platforms to establish ST-Ericsson.

In terms of the company's global set up, ST has 13 main production sites and advanced R&D centers in 10 countries.

Giving a breakup of ST's FY09 revenue by region, Guibert said Apac accounted for 30 percent, followed by EMEA at 28 percent, Greater China at 25 percent, America at 12 percent and Japan at 5 percent, respectively.

As per its various groups, the ACCI (automotive, consumer, computer and telecom infrastructure) accounted for 38 percent, industrial and multisegment sector (IMS) 31 percent, wireless 30 percent and others 1 percent, respectively. "We have a solid product position via industry verticals," Guibert added.

ST's product strategy for the future includes:
* Maintain world leadership -- especially in industrial, power conversion and MEMS.
* Consolidate leading position -- especially in wireless ICs, digital consumer ICs, automotive ICs and computer peripheral ICs.
* Increase presence in MCUs and advanced analog, with leadership in selected segments.
* Gain market share on selected standard product families.

ST's new products aim provide a better future for all. The focus is on:
a) Energy savings -- New products addressing the issue of volatile and soaring oil prices, and contributing to reduction of global warming.
* Microelectronic devices in home appliances.
* Electric/hybrid cars
* PV technologies, including control and conversion.

b) Healthcare -- New solutions improving the quality of life and addressing the problem of skyrocketing healthcare costs.
* Lab-on-chip for diagnosing influenza and other diseases.
* Insulin pumps, other microfluidics, etc.
* Remote monitoring of patients with chronic diseases.

Guibert also touched upon some of ST's Q4-09 solutions and design wins. These include:

Digital consumer
* Adoption of ARM Cortex-A9 processor for upcoming STB and digital TV SoC ICs.
* Launch of new Freeman SoCs.

* Major design win for a 32-bit MCU based automatic transmission platform from a leading US car manufaturer.
* In powertrain, design wins from major tier 1 OEMs in Europe and Japan.

Co-operation with Mayo Clinic for remotely monitoring of patients.

* Portfolio expanded with next generation acoustic MEMS microphones.
* Design wins for motion sensors in various applications.

Smart cards and MCUs
* STM32 family achieved an industry first for MCUs based on ARM Cortex-M processor cores with devices featuring 90nm embedded flash.
* World's first security certification at level EAL6+ for secure MCU that targets security-demanding government applications, such as ID cards and passports.

Power and advanced analog
* New series of highly accurate LED drivers with automatic power saving.
* Design wins for controller and high-voltage converter chips in LED backlit LCD TV power supplies.

Greater China and India perimeter
Guibert pointed out that ST's Singapore fab represents 56 percent of the company's manufacturing capability. According to him, India, China and Taiwan are the strategic markets for ST in Asia.

Traditional markets include Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. The emerging markets in Asia include Vietnam, the Phillippines and Indonesia.

Giving some more information, he added that the 2009 revenue from this region was $3.4 billion (including revenue from ST-Ericsson). This region also has a 40 percent of ST's total global workforce of 21,000. ST has three IC design centers in this part of the world -- India, China and Singapore. The region also accounted for 56 percent of all of ST's wafer production volume, 81 percent of assembly and test production volume, etc.

Guibert added: "India should focus on developing the local electronics industry. We also help start-ups in India. Further, we speak and discuss with governments on how to go about doing things." He noted that a very strong percentage of ST's libraries are developed in India.

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