The month of May is quickly winding down, and the June trade show season is fast approaching. On June 13, the JPCA Show will open its doors at Tokyo Big Sight. The three-day event is the largest trade exhibition for the printed circuit industry. Most agree that the JPCA Show is always a great source of information for both technical and business tidbits.   However, in my opinion, it is a great source of information to predict the future for the Japanese printed circuit industry.

Let’s first look at some data for the last eight years.  Listed below are the annual revenue numbers for the Japanese PCB industry (provided by METI), as well as the percent change from the year below:

2004        818.6 billion yens          +4.0%
2005        833.4 billion yens          +1.8%
2006         962.7 billion yens        +15.5%
2007        1002.4 billion yens          +4.1%
2008        895.4 billion yens          -10.7%
2009        626.6 billion yens         -30.0%
2010        715.2 billion yens        +15.9%
2011        616.0 bullion yens         -14.9%

Growth rates were positive year over year from 2004 – 2007.  There was a big hit to revenue during 2008 and 2009 at the peak of the global recession.  Markets in every country suffered during this period of time.  The printed circuit industry did recover nicely during 2010 and posted a 15% increase over 2009.  The entire industry did not get caught up in the recovery wave, so analysts predicted slow and steady growth for 2011.  Unfortunately, this did not come to fruition.  Not only did revenue fall by 15% compared to the previous year, the industry also posted its lowest annual revenue in eight years.  The bad news for the Japanese industry is this double digit negative growth did not happen in Taiwan, the U.S. and Germany.   Taiwan has set new revenue records for this same period of time, and the U.S. and Germany are showing small but positive increases.

Most business analysts from the Japanese printed circuit industry recall the business environment in the U.S. after the IT bubble crash in 2001. The U.S. PCB industry suffered significant declines, and most of the larger sized circuit manufacturers quickly disappeared from the industry. The IPC Apex Expo is a large trade show for industry and attracts worldwide audiences. Participation dropped dramatically in 2002, and the show never recovered.

I think the JPCA Show 2012 will be very positive and upbeat.  I do not think I will see any signs pointing to an industry melt down. However, I will be able to network and gather market information by communicating with the industry experts and management teams during the show. Some of this chatter that I can pick up during the show is a more realistic outlook for the industry in the upcoming year. I look forward to sharing some of these opinions in one of the upcoming newsletter.

Dominique K. Numakura
DKN Research,

Headlines of the week
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1. Asahi Kasei (Major chemical company in Japan) 5/14
Has started the construction of the new manufacturing plant in China for the photo dry films of PCB with an annual capacity of 120 million square meters.

2. Mirie Automation (Equipment manufacturer in Taiwan) 5/15
Has been getting a lot of new orders manufacturing equipment from Chinese LCD manufacturers for 5G, 6G and 8G lines.

3. Bridgestone (Major tier suppler in Japan) 5/15
Has decided to close the e-paper business because of extreme price competition in the market. The manufacturing will be terminated by October.

4. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) 5/15
Has rolled out a new 65” size white board with PDP technology for business use. 85” and 103” size products will be commercialized by the yearend.

5. Nippon Electric Glass (Major glass material supplier in Japan) 5/16
Will open a new manufacturing and marketing subsidiary in Korea for the local customers of LCD glass substrates.

6. Furukawa Electric (Major cable manufacturing company in Japan) 5/17
Will ship out the first high voltage (275 kV) super conductor cable from Ichihara Plant. Its field test will be conducted in China.

7. Ricoh (Major electronics company in Japan) 5/21
Has developed a new lead free piezo material applying inkjet printing process of PZT for actuator devices.

8. Kobelco (Major steel supplier in Japan) 5/23
Has developed a new fuel cell separator material by coating carbon material on titanium. It reduces the contact resistance to half compared to the other metals.

9. Sharp (Major electronics company in Japan) 5/24
Had agreed to have a procurement alliance with Toppan Printing and Dai Nippon Printing for the color filter materials of LCD panels in Sakai Plant.

10. New Japan Radio (Device manufacturer in Japan) 5/24
Has established the first volume production process of the copper wire bonding on aluminum pads for power semiconductor chips.

DKN Research Newsletter
May 27, 2012 (English Edition)
Electronic Packaging Industry News from Japan & Asia

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