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  Date: 15th Feb 2011

ST grows its business across multiple categories

In the media round table held on 11th Feb 2011 at ST Microelectronics' office in Noida, Carlo Bozotti CEO, ST Microelectronics was jubilant for ST posting growth figures in all of its product segments. The key growth areas listed by Carlo Bozotti includes sensors and power ICs, consumer electronics, security and ID, and medical electronics. ST is aggressively developing 3D enabling chips in video display electronics. Its mixing MEMS and traditional silicon chips to develop innovative new products.

The key strength of ST Microelectronics is its ability to maintain lead in so many broad categories of semiconductor chips; these days it's rare in semiconductor market. ST is the chipmaker, which is equally good in reliability of its devices, designing chips in advanced nodes, and also its ability to lead in fast growing MEMS market. The low cost manufacturing capability can be seen in its some of the 8 bit MCUs which are sold at less than a $ and the MCU kit (STM8S-Discovery hardware development kit) is sold at $7. Technology prowess of ST can be seen in its H1N1 detecting chips. Leading in one segment is not great, but leading in multiple segments is really great, that too consistently. ST has achieved this with less acquisitions compared to other similar chipmakers.

One of the strength of this company is how it is managing the emerging Asian market but retaining its strong position in Europe. For this company China-Taiwan- HongKong region is really a big market and is eyeing India semiconductor market in a similar prospect. In Indian market it has strong sales force to tap in the market in the early stage itself. Finally what matters is the performance of its chips and the quality support ST provides for its value-for-money chips.

For the consumer electronics equipment such as Television and Set Top Box, MEMS based sensor and power ICs, some of the Industrial and automotive ICs, selecting ST's chips is not bad.
In fact many of the Japanese Semiconductor vendors can be matched to ST in offering broad portfolio of semiconductor devices, but too much focus in DRAM and flash has made Japanese vendors loose market share. The success of chip companies depends in how well they provide the ready hardware reference designs and the software code for their chips. Most of the smart semiconductor companies leverage their Indian resources to handle this task; ST is one among them.

However there is one complaint about ST where its customers have faced supply hitches during peak demand and also ST has competitors who are neck-to-neck in many of the segments its serves.

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