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12 SMT Magazine • December 2014 For this year-end column, we will check on how my January 2014 column, New Year Out- look: What Can We Expect in 2014, actually panned out. As usual, I will go through the key sub-topics that directly or indirectly impact our industry in terms of macroeconomics, business environment, technology and global market- place. It is comforting to say that my 2014 out- look was, by and large, on or close to target. GLObAL ecONOmIc OUTLOOK From January 2014 Outlook: "In 2014, the countries with the first and second largest economies, U.S. and China, re- spectively, are expected to show improved out- looks over 2013, while the third largest econo- my, Japan, launches bold new fiscal policies and economic stimuli. With Japan holding the highest debt lev- els in the world (at 230% of GDP), Abenomics needs to show real progress; it will be a tricky maneuver. China and Japan both happen to have recently installed new leadership, which will exert new influences and economic policies. Across the Atlantic Ocean, progress has been made. The signposts indicate that the financial crisis is ending in the Eurozone. Countries such as Italy and Spain are exiting recession. How- ever, the ECB is pondering the challenge and impact of the worryingly low inflation rate. The U.K. sees recovery gaining pace. The Bank of England believes the U.K. economy is recover- ing so quickly that it will likely consider raising interest rates in 2014 [1] . However, a sound economy exists only if there is political and social stability. To that end, the standoff between China and Japan over territorial disputes could skew the global economies if it escalates to a dangerous stage. Such an escalation is unlikely, but not impossi- ble. Eschewing any adverse complications calls for one of the most sensitive and intricate ex- ecutions of the U.S. diplomacy and the foreign policies. Navigating between the two disput- ing countries takes more than the assessment of the current parameters and environments. It also needs both retrospective and prospective understanding of the two countries in relevant by dr. Jennie S. Hwang H-TECHnologiES group SmT PrOSPecTS & PerSPecTIveS ColuMn 2014: Year-end review

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