TPCA Show: Taiwan is No. 1 | Print |  E-mail
Written by Dominique Numakura   
Thursday, 08 November 2012 20:39

The last TPCA Show I attended was in 2008, and the circuit board industry has changed drastically during the last four years. For some countries, the PCB business is good, and for others ... not so good.

Taiwanese manufacturers now have bragging rites over their Japanese counterparts because their revenue and volume have surpassed the once dominant leader in the world. If production in China was added to its bottom line, Taiwan would be the No. 1 circuit board manufacturing country in the world. I was looking forward to finding out all the facts and tidbits with the Taiwanese circuit board industry at the TPCA Show.

The floor size of the show was smaller than the show I attended four years ago, and there were fewer exhibitors. In previous shows, there were many Japanese equipment and material manufacturers for the PCB industry; most were absent from this year’s show. Taking their place were domestic manufacturers.  They were mostly equipment manufacturers; there were not many domestic material suppliers in attendance. A vendor that is very familiar with the industry explained to me that the Taiwanese circuit board manufacturers are changing their material suppliers from those located in Japan to new ones in China or Taiwan. Japanese material suppliers currently have a very small share of market in Taiwan. With that said, he could not explain why there were not many Taiwanese or Chinese material vendors participating in the show.

Most Japanese companies in attendance did not reserve their own booths. Instead, they shared a booth with Taiwanese distributors. Conversely, many companies from Europe and Korea did reserve their own booths. These companies looked very committed and engaged as they competed with some local vendors for business from the global circuit board industry.

I did not find many circuit board or flex circuit manufacturers at the exhibition. I did visit a couple of major circuit board manufacturers, but their booths were relatively small and their displays were not very attractive. One of my business associates in Taiwan explained to me that most of the visitors were circuit board engineers for manufacturers, and did not want to unveil their latest technologies to the competition.

The exhibition itself looked more “trendy” compared to the exhibition held four years ago. Booths were more pleasing to the eye, and featured arranged flowers and electronic signs. Very attractive female models clad in skimpy outfits welcomed all the guests to their fashionable spaces. Large gift bags were given to those who attended the private seminars hosted by any of the companies who reserved booths.

I was surprised to find that many publishing companies including TPCA itself were selling technical books related to printed circuit boards. They covered a broad range of technologies from a basic introduction to a very advanced level. I was surprised how inexpensive these books were – most could be bought for fewer than $20. Gaining knowledge through reading is relatively cheap these days.

I learned many things while strolling around the show, however one thing still baffles me. How can the Taiwanese circuit board companies maintain their high growth rates while almost every other country has a struggling PCB industry?                   

Dominique K. Numakura
DKN Research,

To see the back issues of the newsletter, please visit

Headlines of the week

1. Nikon (Major optical device manufacturer in Japan) 10/23
Has commercialized a new pattern exposure system “FX-67S” with a resolution of 2 microns L/S for high definition displays such as LCD and OLED.

2. EPSON (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 10/24
Has agreed new R&D alliance with Merck in Germany to develop a new ink jet printing system for printable OLED.

3. Hanwha Group (Major business group in Korea) 10/24
Has founded a new solar cell manufacturer “Hanwha Q.CELLS” based on G-Cells in Germany. The new company will be the third largest supplier in the industry. 

4. Japan Display (Display manufacturer in Japan) 10/25
Has developed a new paper looks LCD panel introducing special thin scattering layer on the surface. The new color display looks very natural.

5. Kyocera (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 10/29
Has developed a new BTB connector series “5870” with 0.4 mm pitch and 0.7 mm height for thee connections between high density flex circuits and rigid boards.

6. LG Display (Major display manufacturer in Korea) 10/29
Has become the largest display supplier for Apple. Apple will use LG’s displays for new iPad mini, MacBook Pro and iMac.

7. Hitachi Cable & SMM (Major copper product suppliers in Japan) 10/29
Have agreed to found a new JV “SH Material”. All of the lead frame businesses will be transferred to the new company in 2013.

8. EPSON (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 10/30
Has developed a new driver module “S4E5B001B000A00” for e-paper displays manufactured by E Ink in Taiwan.

9. ITRI (R&D organization in Taiwan) 10/31
Has unveiled new RTR manufacturing technologies for touch panel screen and IGZO TFT using thin flexible substrates supplied by Corning.

10. AUO (Major display manufacturer in Taiwan) 11/2
Plans to supply one to two million sets of ultra high HD LCD panels in 2013 to flat TV manufacturers in Japan and China.

Please find the full articles at

Check out Board Talk, our new bulletin board:

Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 16:04




CB Login



English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Printed Circuit Design & Fab Magazine on Facebook