ECONOMY

High-tech players stand up to crisis

Greece’s economy may be moving deeper into recession but one sector is still growing, drawing the attention of its international peers: the country’s semiconductor market. Worth some 350 million euros per annum, 85 to 90 percent of revenues come from abroad, mainly Western Europe and North America, helping to protect the sector’s 2,000 employees from the downturn. «We are an export-oriented business, so the Greek crisis should not affect us that much. However, cash-flow problems are hurting some members as is the risk-adverse culture in Greece right now,» Dionisis Kolokotsas, general manager at the Hellenic Semiconductor Industry Association, told Kathimerini English Edition. Semiconductors are used to make the microchips used in electronic products, such as computers and telephones. The association, which has about 50 industrial members and includes more than 30 universities and institutes in Greece and abroad, expects turnover growth in the sector to be «flat to slightly positive» in 2010 after expanding by an annual pace of 4 percent in 2009 in a global market worth some $300 billion. Why would anyone want to do business in the semiconductor market in Greece, one of the European Union’s laggards in adopting new technologies? Kolokotsas said that there are business success stories in Greece along with talented individuals, some of whom were trained domestically. «Over the last 15 years, some Greeks from abroad have also returned and helped this industry to take off, but this trend could be reversed due to the crisis. Talented professionals are often the first to leave in a crisis,» he added.