The last edition of DKN’s newsletter focused on the market conditions in Taiwan.

This week, I turn my attention to the Japanese market, since I planned on visiting one of the major electronics trade show there.

Ceatec Japan is one of the major trade shows for the global consumer electronics industry. The four-day show was held in Makuhari Messe in Japan on Oct. 7. The show featured cutting edge technologies and gadgets.

The show was formerly known simply as the Electronics Show and was one Japan’s largest exhibitions for the electronics industry during the '90s. The show still attracted many people at the turn of the century by featuring new electronics products such as cellular phones, flat panel TVs and digital cameras. Unfortunately, the majority of manufacturing shifted to other Asian countries and Japan lost its leadership position in the worldwide electronics market.

The shrinking electronics industry in Japan caused Ceatec to downsize over the past decade. The floor size of the exhibition was cut in half compared to the earlier years, but the size remained the same compared with last year. Another good sign is the attendance increased this year.

Some of the more popular electronics companies reserved booths this year, but their spaces were much smaller than previous years. Even though the booths for Sharp, Panasonic and Fujitsu were smaller, they were still much larger than some of the other electronics companies. Toshiba, Sony and Hitachi did not attend the show this year – this could be due to the some of the hacking scandals and financial problems. Two other companies absent from the show were Samsung and LG in Korea.

Presentations from some of the major electronics companies were showy and flashy. Most were talking about 4K and 8K TV, and others spoke about IoT, wearable electronics, convenient home appliances and other electronic gadgets. Nothing new jumped out at me, it was more of the same with just a little added flare. This is a reflection on the direction for some of these companies. They are rehashing the same products because they could not find that break through technology to launch them back into an influential position amongst their peers.

Conversely, component and module suppliers such as Murata, TDK, Alps, Kyocera had outstanding presentations that attracted many people. Most of these companies are leaders for technology and electronic products in the global industry. They presented unique conceptual products for next generation mobile equipment. These Japanese component suppliers will remain at the leading positions in the global market and have captured a large market share in the worldwide consumer electronics industry.

There was much anticipation to see the new electronics from automobile manufacturers. Unfortunately, the only auto giants to show up were from Honda and Mazda. They had relatively small booths and promoted EV car technologies. My guess is most of the auto manufacturers were busy preparing for the Tokyo Motor Show that begins on Oct. 29.

A lot of technical colleges reserved small spaces and featured their academic projects. Visitors as well as engineers from other companies visited their booths to see what the young generation is dreaming up.

Most of the audience was from Japan, but many of the companies that participated were from the US, Korea, China and Taiwan. Taiwanese companies had the lion’s share of space at the show. Several manufacturers displayed many kinds of small and mid-sized display panels including OLED. The products looked very impressive, and these companies could be the main suppliers for these displays on a worldwide level.

If the exhibition was a business barometer for the Japanese electronics industry, then there is a storm coming. Most of the major Japanese companies are struggling to find a business plan to get them out of this slump. Device and module manufacturers have clear business directions and they will remain at the top in the global arena.

Dominique K. Numakura, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DKN Research, DKN Research Newsletter #1532, Oct. 18th, 2015 (English Edition)(Micro Electronics & Packaging)

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Headlines of the Week

1. AIST & RIKEN developed a printing process to generate organic high dielectric memories that work by low voltage.

2. Sumitomo Electric set a record for high-speed telecommunication at 2.15 petabits per second using 30km long optical fiber cable.

3. Toshiba developed a 2Mp CMOS image sensor for automobile applications. It minimizes the effects of LED flickering.

4. Yaskawa Electric developed a small-size joint driving unit for humatronics equipment.

5. Sony founded a subsidiary, Sony Semiconductor Solutions, to strengthen its semiconductor business, especially with image sensor devices.

6. Waseda University developed a micro fluid organic white color EL device. The semiconductor material is liquid at room temperature.

7. Sony completed its acquisition of Softkinetic System S.A. in Belgium to expand the image sensor technology for short distance.

8. Kuraray developed a photosensitive elastomer for display or devices. It is hardened by UV irradiation, but it keeps flexibility.

9. Idemitsu opened an office in Shanghai for engineering service of organic EL displays.

10. Tokyo University developed a gel material that has mechanical strength and toughness together. It will be valuable for flexible display and artificial muscle.

11. Canon has been developing s new VCR (video content analysis) system. It can analyze multiple network cameras concurrently. 

12. LINTEC agreed with ITRI in Taiwan to work together on R&D of an organic flexible EL display providing high-barrier film technologies.

13. Canon developed a Blue Spectrum Refractive Optical Device for color correction of BR lenses.

14. Hitachi Chemical received an order for a hybrid energy storage system as the environmental protection activity in Galapagos Islands.

15. Iwasaki Electric will build a technical center in Saitama Prefecture for R&D services of the lighting devices. The center will have 600 employees.

16. Kyoto University succeeded in improving the conversion rate of polymer base photovoltaic cell more than 30% by introducing an IR light absorber.

17. Murata commercialized a high-frequency matching device for IoT equipment with sub 1GHz and 2.4GHz bands.

18. Tohoku University developed a lithium ion air battery for EV. One charge is enough for a 500km drive.

19. Fujitsu developed the world's smallest microwave receiver based on low loss polyimide substrate for 300GHz band. It is capable to receive several ten gigabits per second.

20. Canon developed a photo processing software that makes 3D image prints realistic.

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