The 104 manufacturers on the 2011 NTI-100 made up more than 80% of the world’s PCB output.
The NTI-100 list for 2011 was greatly influenced by exchange rates. Taiwanese fabricators continued to make gains, followed by Japanese manufacturers. Some names disappeared because they were purchased; their sales are included in the acquiring firm’s results. Some disappeared because they did poorly. Several fabricators, particularly Japanese firms, made it because of exchange rates.
As usual, the author is not almighty and is certain that there are many errors. Some companies that should be on the list may be missing. He assumes full responsibility for any errors. He wishes to express his gratitude to those PCB makers that provided him valuable data.
Exchange rates. Currency values played a role in certain companies’ performance. Table 1 lists the average exchange rates of major currencies against the US dollar.
Assumptions. All acquisitions that took place during 2011 are assumed to have taken place on Jan 1, 2011. In the cases of flexible circuit manufacturers (FPC), the assembly value is included because it is extremely difficult to separate bare board sales from total revenues. Therefore, the rankings are relative, not absolute. Finally, a large portion of revenues of Taiwan, Japanese and US makers comes from overseas operations, and therefore involves double conversions. The author has no knowledge of what exchange rates Taiwanese makers, for example, used to convert output in RMB into NT dollars to report consolidated revenues.
Entries by country or region. There are 104 companies on the 2011 NTI-100 list. There are more Japanese makers than Taiwanese because of a 10% increase from 2010 to 2011 in value of the Japanese yen against the US dollar. Several Japanese makers would not have made it had the 2010 exchange rate remained constant.
Table 3 lists the 2011 NTI-100. Although comments are included in the table, more extensive comments on certain fabricators are below.
Unimicron. Unimicron purchased Ruwel International of Germany and Clover Electronics of Japan in 2011 and took in partial revenues of these two into its fiscal 2011 revenue. The revenue in the table takes into consideration full-year accounts of Ruwel and Clover. Unimicron is rumored to be shutting one of its Shenzhen facilities (“Plato”). It plans to build new facilities in Jining in Shandong Province and Nantong along the Yangtze River, north of Shanghai. Its 2011 output in China jumped by 60%.
Nippon Mektron. Its subsidiary, Mektec Suzhou, obtained water permission for its long-awaited second plant, which is undergoing construction. It is scheduled to commence operations in the fourth quarter this year. Its Thai subsidiary, Mektec Thailand, flooded badly, but most of the equipment was moved to higher floors and saved. It could restart production as early as December, and become fully operational by March. The company is expected to reach $3 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012.
Ibiden. Ibiden did poorly in flip-chip substrates for MPUs in 2011 due to sluggish PC shipments, but did very well with buildup MLBs for smartphones and tablets. It did well with IC substrates for baseband chips used for smartphones and tablets. It is reported that Ibiden is investing more than $2 billion to expand its overseas operations over the next three years, of which two-thirds will be used for PCB expansions. One-third of its fiscal 2011 revenue came from overseas production, but in fiscal 2013, Ibiden seeks to generate 60% of its revenue from overseas operations, particularly the Philippines and Malaysia. Its flip-chip substrate business is tops in the world, despite the slower 2011.
Zhen Ding. Zhen Ding is a business unit of Foxconn and was called Foxconn Advanced Technology prior to its Dec. 26, 2011, listing on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. A large portion of its revenue is said to come from FPC and FPC Assembly. The largest customer of its FPC business inclusive of FPC Assembly is said to be Apple Computer. It aims to become the largest PCB maker in the world in a few years, according to recent remarks by its CEO. It operates at two locations in Shenzhen, one at Yinkou, one at Qinghuangdao and one at Huai’an, all in China. Zhen Ding sold its Yantai facility to a business unit of Foxconn called Pan International prior to the stock listing because it was losing money, according to industry sources.
Tripod. Tripod’s revenue fell slightly in 2011 in terms of NT dollars due to poor PC demand. It has been reducing its dependency on the PC sector and diversifying its end-product markets. It is building new plants in Xiantao, about 100km west of Wuhan, along the Yangtze River. Two manufacturing buildings (of four planned) are nearly finished, and one will begin equipment installation toward the end of the third quarter and commence operations partially in the first quarter 2013. Automotive PCB is increasing at Tripod.
HannStar Board. HannStar Board completely absorbed GBM’s PCB units (GBM Yuanmao, CMK-GBM and GBM Chuangyi). GBM was building a facility in Chongqing. HannStar Board is trying to reduce its dependency on the notebook motherboard business. It made 93 million NB motherboards in 2011, mostly six and eight layers.
TTM Technologies. TTM is said to be strengthening its buildup MLB production capability both in technology and volume by adding a number of advanced laser drilling machines. Its US side of the business seems to be holding steady. Given the amount of investment in China, TTM’s future growth will come mainly from Chinese operations (TTM Asia Pacific, the former Meadville Technology).
Semco (Samsung Electro Mechanics Co). Semco benefited from high demand for Galaxy smartphones and tablets made by Samsung Electronics. However, 70% of its revenue came from IC substrates, flip-chip and wirebond types. Its Kunshan subsidiary, which makes buildup MLBs, also made a small contribution. In 2012, Semco is aiming at 1,900 billion won in revenue ($1.73 billion at 2011 exchange rates).
Nanya PCB. About $400 million of Nanya PCB’s revenue was derived from its Kunshan subsidiary, which has almost finished construction of a four-story PCB Plant 3 intended for wirebond IC substrates and for buildup MLBs. Nanya seems to be doing poorly in the first half of 2012, with a revenue decline of about 20% compared to the same period last year (parent only). Expected gains in the second half will hopefully compensate for a weak first half.
Young Poong Group. YP Group consists of Korea Circuits, Terranix, Interflex (FPC) and Young Poong Electronics (FPC). The combined FPC revenue of Interflex and Young Poong Electronics was $722 million, fourth largest in the world after Nippon Mektron, Sumitomo Denko Printed Circuits and M-Flex. Interflex’s gigantic eight-story building is completed in Ansan City, Korea, next to the head office of Korea Circuits. This plant will contribute greatly to the future revenue growth of YP Group. Buildup MLBs made by Korea Circuits are sold mainly to Samsung Electronics.
KB PCB Group. Kingboard Chemical’s PCB group consists of Elec & Eltek, Techwise, Evertek, Glory Faith, Top Faith and Express Circuits. Due to rising material costs and stiff price competition in the market, KB’s revenue was slightly below that of 2010. However, KB is in expansion mode, building huge plants for Elec & Eltek in Yangzhou (north of Nanjing), whose total production capability is planned to be 10 million sq. ft. per month when all five buildings are finished. Evertek in Kunshan is planning a four-story plant for buildup MLBs. Elec & Eltek Thailand was spared from the flooding last year. Top Faith seems to be building a new facility in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province.
Shinko Denki Industry. One of the major flip-chip package substrate makers (with Ibiden, Nanya PCB and SEMCO) for Intel chips, Shinko Denki, is building a major substrate plant in the city of Takaoka, Nagano Prefecture, for next-generation chips.
CMK. CMK’s revenue fell 10% in Japanese yen, but thanks to the rising yen, it remained in the NTI-$1B Club, which had 13 companies in 2011, up two from 2010. CMK was the largest automotive PCB maker in 2011, with revenue of $530 million, well ahead of No. 2 Viasystems. It expects that 60 to 65% of its revenue this year will come from automotive applications.
Daeduck Group. Daeduck Group consists of Daeduck Electronics and Daeduck GDS. Daeduck Electronics has two subsidiaries: APERIO, a maker of IC substrates, and Daeduck Electronics Philippines. GDS has a plant in Tianjing, which is rumored to be shut down. Its major customer is Samsung Electronics. Samsung is planning to ship 420 million cellphone units in 2012, of which 190 are to be Galaxy smartphones. Daeduck will benefit from this and is likely to join NTI-$1B Club in 2012.
Sumitomo Denko Printed Circuit. Several “Sumitomos” are engaged in the manufacture of PCBs: Sumitomo Mining (through a subsidiary, Shinko Mfg), Sumitomo Bakelite, Sumitomo Cable, Sumitomo Metal Electro Device and Sumitomo Denko. Sumitomo Denko has two FPC plants in Japan, two in China and one in Vietnam, about to be increased to two since it will be purchasing Sumitomo Bakelite’s Hanoi plant at the end of the third quarter. Forty-five to 50% of Sumitomo Denko’s revenue is said to come from sales to Apple.
Multek. Multek is a part of Flextronics and operates five plants in Zhuhai, China, one in Boeblingen, Germany, one in Sãn Paulo, Brazil, and one in Northfield, MN. Its FPC and rigid-flexible output seems to be increasing steadily, as is its high layer-count MLBs. Multek is a major buildup MLB maker in the world.
Viasystems Group. Some 48% ($412 million) of Viasystems’ bare board revenue came from automotive PCBs. It acquired DDi in May 2012, which will boost its military PCB output by several times. Its prorated revenue for bare PCBs in 2011 was $1.129 billion. Viasystems is one of the major high layer-count MLB manufacturers.
Multi-Fine Line Electronix. M-Flex sold its headquarters in Anaheim, CA, to DDi, which is now a Viasystems division, and moved to a new building in Irvine, CA. It used to have close to 400 employees in Anaheim, but is said to have only 50 now, with all other employees in China (Suzhou and Chengdu). Several years ago, over 80% of its revenue was from sales to Motorola. Now, more than 90% of its revenue comes from five major customers, including Apple and RIM.
Kinsus Technology. Kinsus Suzhou’s revenue contribution was next to nothing in 2011, but will be substantial in 2012, as its package substrate operations have been ramping since the beginning of 2012. Included in Kinsus’ revenue are sales from Piotek, formerly Boardtek, a subsidiary of Asustek. Kinsus PCB Group now belongs to Pegatron, a manufacturing arm of Asustek.
Meiko Electronics. Meiko sustained triple punches in 2011. The March earthquake/tsunami destroyed Meiko’s Ishinomaki plant, and the Fukushima plant was shut down for several months due to its proximity to the Fukushima nuclear plant, which exploded from the loss of its cooling pumps. Then, on Oct. 18, one of its two Wuhan plants was shut down for three months by Chinese authorities on suspicion of wastewater treatment violations, which was very much a political issue related to Apple’s suppliers (the “poison Apple” case, as the Chinese called it). The issue was resolved on Jan. 19, 2012. As a result, Meiko has been accelerating operation of its new Hanoi, Vietnam, plant. Despite all these problems, Meiko ended fiscal 2011 with a net profit. Meiko will see strong growth in 2012, with the Fukushima and Wuhan plants operational and the new Vietnam plant contributing greatly.
Compeq. Compeq has been doing well this year. It is one of the major PCB suppliers to Apple for all product lines (iPhones, iPods, iPads and iMac). Its Chongqing buildup MLB plant is scheduled to commence operation in the first quarter 2014.
Wus Group. Wus China was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2010. This China organization is separate from its Taiwan operation, but major ownership is common to both organizations. A new plant consisting of two buildings in Kunshan, about 20 minutes from the existing plant, is nearly completed, with total floor space of 2 million sq. ft. A second plant is in planning at Huangxi, 100 km east of Wuhan. Wus is one of the major high layer-count MLB makers in China. Of the $468 million revenue generated at Kunshan, well over $100 million came from MLBs above 18 layers.
AT&S. AT&S is Europe’s largest PCB maker, but the majority of its output came from its Shanghai plant ($403 million, or 56%). AT&S is also a major producer of automotive PCBs, with 2011 revenue of $120 million. It has been building a gigantic buildup MLB plant in Chongqing since July of 2011, and the building seems almost complete. It is scheduled to commence operation in early 2013. AT&S took a technical license from Panasonic to manufacture “ALIVH” products.
Fujikura. Fujikura is a major FPC manufacturer. Unfortunately, 95% of its output came from three plants in Thailand, two of which were completely flooded in fall 2011. One of the plants started partial operation in May, and the other is scheduled to restart operation in December, according to the company’s annual report. In the meantime, Fujikura purchased an FPC plant in Vietnam from bankrupted Sakai Denshi last December and commenced operation in January. At the same time, Fujikura selected land in Thailand high above sea level to build a new flex manufacturing plant, which is supposed to generate 30% of future revenue.
Gold Circuit Electronics. GCE is the second largest notebook motherboard maker, after HannStar Board. Unfortunately, its main notebook motherboard plant in Changzhu, China, had a fire and was disabled for some time. It has been restored.
Simmtech. Simmtech used to be Chungbuk Electronics. When it started to enter the single-in-line memory module business, it changed its name to Simmtech. In the last several years, Simmtech has been growing rapidly in the IC substrate market as well. It built a plant in Xian, China, to supply memory module circuits to Micron and Samsung Electronics.
Nitto Denko. Nitto Denko is a major Japanese FPC maker with plants in Japan, China (Suzhou) and Vietnam (near Ho Chi Minh City). It is building a new plant next to the existing plant in Vietnam.
Chin Poon Industrial. Chin Poon has several plants in Taiwan and a plant with two buildings in Changshu, China. It is the third largest automotive PCB maker in the world, with $300 million automotive revenue. Its Thailand subsidiary (minority share) was badly damaged by the flooding in the fall of 2011, but is fully restored.
Unitech Electronics. One of the largest buildup MLB makers in the world, Unitech built a new buildup plant in Ilan, Taiwan, which started operation in 2011. It has a provision to build a plant near Nanjing, but no concrete plan is set at this time, it seems.
PID (Panasonic Industrial Devices). Formerly Panasonic Electronic Devices, and inventor and licensor of ALIVH technology, PID built a second ALIVH plant in Taiwan (Tayuan) and another ALIVH plant in Vietnam (Hanoi). Its overseas ALIVH production capability will triple when these two new plants become fully operational this year.
LG Innotek. It is said that LG Innotek supplies over 80% of its output to its parent, LG Electronics. Since LGE did poorly in cellphones in 2011, LG Innotek also did poorly. It decided to exit the high layer-count MLB business in 2010, which is a shame because it had very high technology in this field. The reason for the exit is that the market for high layer-count MLBs is rather small and is not growing compared to other fields such as IC substrates and buildup MLBs. So, now, LG Innotek concentrates on IC substrates and buildup MLBs. It supplies buildup MLBs (“any layer” type) for Apple’s smartphones.
Founder Technology. Owned by Beijing University, Founder Group went into the PCB business in 2004 when it purchased Zhuhai Multilayer. Since then, it acquired a quickturn and prototype maker in Hangzhou and built two new PCB plants: one in Zhuhai and the other in Chongqing. Zhuhai “Fushan Branch” plant in Doumen district of Zhuhai consists of four operations: buildup MLB, QTA and prototyping, R&D and IC substrate. The last operation is called ACCESS (Advanced Chip Career Electronic Substrate Solutions). ACCESS is a JV between Founder and Israeli substrate maker Amitek. (ACCESS’ revenue – $70 million in 2011 – is not included with Founder’s.) Founder built its second buildup MLB plant next to its existing site early this year and a separate quickturn plant at its Zhuhai Fushan Branch last year. Founder is one of what the author calls “three musketeers of China,” the others being CCTC and Shennan Circuits.
Shennan Circuits. A division of AVIC Group (Aviation Industry of China), which makes jet fighter airplanes, helicopters, automobiles, missiles and jet engines among other things, Shennan Circuits is one of the China’s best high layer-count MLB builders, with two plants in Shenzhen (Nanshan and Longgang districts). In 2011, it commenced production of BGA substrates and has been negotiating with Wuxi government to build a new BGA plant there.
China Circuit Technology Corp. CCTC is one of the large makers of buildup MLBs for local cellphone makers. CCTC has two plants in Shantou, Guangdong Province, a small plant in Shenzhen and another small one in Shichuwan Province. CCTC belongs to Go-World Group, which also has a laminate manufacturing subsidiary.
DDi. DDi, the second-largest PCB maker in North America after TTM, was purchased by Viasystems Group in May. This purchase boosts Viasystems’ military portion of its PCB business to well over $100 million.
Wuzhu Group, Shenzhen Fast Print, Shenzhen Sun Tak and Bomin Electronics. These three makers may be called second tier “four musketeers of China.” All have substantial expansions ongoing in various parts in China: Wuzhu in Dongguang, Fast Print in Yixing, Suntak in Jiangmen and Bomin in Meizhou.
Tat Chun Circuits. Some 51% of Tat Chun was acquired by Korean high layer-count MLB maker ISU Petasys in May of this year. “ISU” in Korean means “Pear Tree, or 梨樹. Peta is 10 to the 12th. The parent company, ISU Chemical, named it as Petasys to wish that it would grow to “infinity.” Tat Chun has had a business alliance with Japan’s Toppan-NEC, a competitor of ISU Petasys for Cisco’s programs. ISU Petasys is the largest supplier to Cisco. What is going to happen with Tat Chun, Toppan-NEC and ISU Petasys is beyond this author’s imagination. Good luck to all parties involved.
Ed.: For a larger version of Table 3, right-click on each table, then click View Image and increase the size.
If readers have questions about other NTI-100 entries, the author would be happy to respond.
One final comment: The “80-20” rule normally applies to the amount of market share controlled by 20% of the manufacturers in the same field. It is estimated that there are 2,600 to 2,800 PCB companies in the world today. The 104 companies on the NTI-100 list represent 3.7% of the total. The total revenue ($48 billion) of these 104 makers accounted for 81% of the world output ($59 billion). Therefore, in the PCB field, the rule may be more like “90-10”; that is, the big get bigger and faster.
Once a PCB manufacturer’s revenue reaches a certain level, say, $500 million per annum, it must keep running, meaning continuous investment. Some companies are taking a different path, specializing in a niche market with niche products. Which is better?
Ed.: To see the 2011 NTI-100, click here.
See below for a list of the world's top PCB fabricators over the years:
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