Large electronics companies in Japan continue to lose market share in the global arena.

This erosion of market share has had a ripple effect on Japanese printed circuit manufacturers that supplied these electronic companies; when they sneeze, printed circuit manufacturers catch cold. Japanese printed circuit companies are struggling. On the other hand, electronic component suppliers remain a leader in the global market, and continue to grow even with stiff competition from China and the other developing countries. Why aren’t they struggling?

A few large electronics companies in Japan are in the middle of a one- to three-year recovery plan. I’m not sure if these plans are relevant from a long-term business standpoint. Several weeks ago, Sony announced the termination of its battery division. Sony plans to sell the battery operations to Murata, one of the major component supplies in Japan.

A few years ago, Sony spun off its Vaio personal computer division. These two divisions of Sony were losing money over the last few years, but I wonder if Sony took the easy way out by just dumping these product lines. Sure, Sony stopped losing money, but these were brand names with equity, and it takes a lot of research and money to launch a new product into the market. Sony’s business culture is to come up with a unique idea, and the market will create itself. Sony developed a lot of unique products with huge success during the '80s and '90s; unfortunately that ended in the year of 2000. Sony is no longer a large electronics company. Sony is falling apart, and unless its researchers and engineers can figure it out, I am not very optimistic about Sony’s future right now.

I am very optimistic with Murata’s outlook. They started out with passive components – not a flashy business, but it is a popular product used in an array of electronics equipment. Murata has a long term business strategy, and it remains a major player in the global component market. They are competitive with Chinese and Korean manufacturers, even though Murata produces most of its products in Japan. I’m not sure why they acquired the battery division from Sony, but I know it is a part of their long term business strategy. This could be an eye opener for the executives at Sony –instead of cutting off something, try and fix it.

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

DKN Research, www.dknresearchllc.com

DKN Research Newsletter #1624, August 28, 2016 (English Edition)(Micro Electronics & Packaging)

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Headlines of the Week

1. Mitsubishi Material will open its Volume Production Technology Center in Hyogo Prefecture for the sputtering target business. The company expect a market $100 million, and it will grow more.

2. Renesas decided to terminate its microwave devices business. The company will focus on optical devices.

3. Nagase developed a blood vessel sensor as an ID recognition device for mobile equipment and automobile applications.

4. Disco developed a laser wafer slicing technology, “KABRA,” of SiC wafers. It reduces process time and increases yield remarkably.

5. Nagoya University developed a simple, low-cost synthesis process for organic nanotube molecules from acetylene structures. 6. JST developed a manufacturing method of single crystal silicon ingot for mega-solar photovoltaic power generators. The new process remarkably reduces the manufacturing cost.

7. Toyota Motors agreed to cooperate with University of Michigan to develop AI technology for auto-driving and robotics.

8. Mitsubishi Electric will commercialize a new small-size SiC DIPIPM as a controller for air conditioners. It will increase energy efficiency.

9. Osaka University and Tohoku University discovered a new mechanism of multi-ferromagnetic materials under lighting. The mechanisms could be valuable to design the next generation memory devices.

10. RIKEN successfully made a quantum bit in a semiconductor device build in traditional silicon. It could be valuable to build quantum computers.

11. TIT, a technical college in Japan, discovered a new phenomenon of glass materials. Injection of electrons significantly changes physical properties. It could be valuable to control the properties of glass.

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