I would like to thank our shareholders and other stakeholders for their support and confidence.
The internet of things (IoT), which will connect not only conventional PCs and mobile devices, but also various other objects, is nearly upon us. The number of devices connected to the internet is expected to reach 50 billion in 2020, and annual global IP traffic is thus expected to grow an average of 20% per year until 2018. Technological innovation in semiconductors has an important part to play in the arrival of this new era, as do the cutting-edge production equipment technologies that support such innovation.
The semiconductor industry is now right on the brink of the most important inflection points in its history. Until now, semiconductors have developed through ongoing miniaturization. However, as miniaturization progresses, we are encountering various technological barriers that cannot be overcome by existing technologies. To break through these barriers, innovative new technologies are emerging. These include 3D structure devices such as 3D NAND flash, the use of new semiconductor materials, and multiple patterning that realizes finer patterns by using etch and deposition with current lithography technology. By developing and providing products suited for these new technologies, Tokyo Electron aims to be a strategic partner for customers. We regard technological inflection points as unparalleled opportunities for business expansion.
Going forward, we will pursue the current product strategy with fresh vigor under a new regime, toward successful achievement of the medium term management plan. Accordingly, we are making it a priority to keep creating next-generation products capable of responding to the advanced needs of the future generations. We will also concentrate our development resources on key areas and reorganize our development functions so they can work across the boundaries of business units. Through these measures, we intend to enhance our ability to propose unique ideas for next-generation technologies, so we can quickly offer sophisticated solutions that satisfy increasingly complex customer needs. As a market leader in the fields of SPE and FPD production equipment, Tokyo Electron will do our utmost to achieve world-class profitability and product competitiveness.
To succeed, I ask for your continued support and confidence as we continue to move forward.
Representative Director, President & CEO