Q&A with Advantest President & CEO, Yoshiaki Yoshida discusses the mid-term plan, Grand Design
By GO SEMI & Beyond staff
The subject of this issue’s Q&A is Yoshiaki Yoshida, president and CEO of Advantest Corporation. He joined Advantest in 1999 and held a succession of leadership positions prior to being elected to his current roles in January 2017. He holds a degree in management from Yokohama National University. Mr. Yoshida recently introduced new business strategies that will guide Advantest’s business both in the near term and over the next decade.
Q. What were the trends that helped Advantest achieve the strong financial results for FY2017?
A. Advantest’s FY2017 financial year-over- year growth of 32.9% can be linked to several key industry trends. Strong demand for 3D NAND flash memory and DRAM led memory chipmakers to actively invest in expanding their production capacity. In addition, high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), display driver ICs, and automotive ICs and sensors amid advancements in automotive electronics – combined with demand for data center-related semiconductors – were major contributors.
Q. Advantest has developed a “Grand Design” plan. What market / industry advances led to the development of this plan?
A. Amidst the digital transformation driven by semiconductor evolution, Advantest’s business environment is changing dramatically. With the explosion of data driving developments in semiconductor technology, the tester market is evolving in concert with the semiconductor space. Whereas chip drivers previously evolved from mainframes to PCs and smartphones, semiconductors are now becoming the infrastructure of a data-centric future, as complex applications including data centers, 5G communications, and human/machine interfaces move into the spotlight. [See Figure 1.] These applications require more complex semiconductors with greater capacity and functionality – and, in turn, test systems that can accommodate their advanced testing requirements.
To capitalize on these successes and take full advantage of the industry environment, we developed the 10-year Grand Design, as well as the Mid-Term Plan, which covers FY2018 through FY2020.
Q. What are the key aspects of each of these plans?
A. The vision of Advantest’s Grand Design is to add customer value in an evolving semiconductor value chain. More specifically, we will further contribute to the semiconductor industry by enriching, expanding and integrating our test and measurement solutions throughout the entire value chain. [See Figure 2.] Our business is organized into three reportable segments: (1) semiconductor and component test systems; (2) mechatronics; and (3) services, support and other activities to address the wide-ranging needs of customers in every area of the industry ecosystem.
Q. Why is Advantest uniquely positioned to successfully implement these business plans?
A. We have a number of advantages working in our favor.
- We have the world’s leading product portfolio, built on highly scalable, modular platforms, and we hold a dominant position in several key growth areas, including DRAM, non-volatile memory (NVM), HPC and networks.
- We have the number one global customer base, developed and nurtured over many years, with a very strong presence in fast-growing Asia markets.
- We offer complete test environments, including chip-handling tools and device-interface peripherals, and we have strong, comprehensive support teams in every region we serve. We are excited by the opportunities afforded by the current state of the industry, together with our already strong and well-established position in the global semiconductor ecosystem. We look forward to making great inroads with our near- and long-term plans, and to reporting on key successes and innovations that will enable us to achieve our objectives, strengthen our portfolio, and become the number one provider of test and measurement solutions.