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An energy droop of a different kind: Power management chip market said to decline

Though they are pivotal components in the quest for energy efficiency, the market for power management semiconductors is expected to drop by 6% by year-end, falling victim to pronounced softness in global consumer markets.

So says the market research firm IHS iSuppli in its Power Management Tracker Report. It says revenue from power management chips will hit $29.9 billion by the end of 2012, down from $31.8 billion last year. This compares to a small 1.5% increase in these components last year, from revenues of $31.4 billion in 2010. The previous IHS forecast for 2012, issued in September, called for slight 1.7 percent growth for the market.

Another problem for power management chips is that a number of energy efficiency initiatives in Asia have been winding down but haven't been renewed. Most notable of these are improved-efficiency cooling system subsidies for residential and commercial use, IHS says.

But the market research firm thinks the power management market will begin growing again next year at a 7.6% rate, about average for power management semiconductors. If these predictions hold true, industry revenue could hit an estimated $38.7 billion by 2016.

IHS says key markets for power management semiconductors in the future will be mobile devices, communications, energy and public infrastructure improvements, and new construction. IHS sees particularly good prospects for power management devices in alternative energy and especially in hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as wind and solar energy, and grid upgrades for smart meters and similar devices. Medical electronics will also spur demand through diagnostics, monitoring and various human-aid products, the market research firm says.

The market for power management semiconductors includes products related specifically to the conversion, distribution and management of power in electronic systems. Among these products are power management integrated circuits like voltage regulators and references, as well as power interface ICs and application-specific power management ICs. Other important power management products are discrete power semiconductors such as power transistors greater than 1 W; rectifiers greater than 0.5 A; and thyristors.

No surprise that IHS sees the top power management devices over the long term being insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules. The IGBT modules will find strong use in the markets for alternative energy, automotive and industrial devices, IHS says. The market research firm also sees strong prospects for metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET) that handle significant power levels, and linear regulators for maintaining steady voltage.

The IHS iSuppli report, "Power Management Semiconductor Market 5-year CAGR Slows Down to 4%," can be found here: http://www.isuppli.com/Semiconductor-Value-Chain/Pages/Power-Management-Semiconductor-Market-5-year-CAGR-Slows-Down-to-4.aspx

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