Taiwan is the production center for global consumer electronics, and the circuit board production in Taiwan is considered the barometer for the electronics industry.

Performance for most of the major printed circuit manufacturers in Taiwan is mixed; there are some bright signs, and there are some areas that need improvement.

Business was slow in 2015 for Taiwanese circuit manufacturers because of the global recession that impacted sales of personal computers. Taiwanese manufacturers produce almost 90% of the world’s PCs. A recent slowdown in smart phone sales also had a negative impact. Circuit board manufacturers were down in sales in the first three quarters in 2016. However, the PC market has been rebounding during the second half of 2016, sales increased and circuit board manufacturers posted positive results compared to the previous year.

Shipments during the first fuur months in Taiwan did not follow historic trends. February shipments for Taiwanese manufacturers typically decrease during the Chinese New Year vacation (the festival lasts 15 days), and increase the following month. However, February shipments did not decline remarkably this year, and revenue increased by more than 15% compared to the same month last year. The remarkable rebounding in sales during March did not happen; shipments were almost the same compared to the same month last year.

Sales for the Taiwanese circuit board industry typically grow during the second quarter, but this year April shipments declined. This is not the normal sales trend - both rigid board manufacturers and flex circuit manufacturers posted a decrease in shipments, and the decrease for flex circuit manufacturers was much larger in terms of percentage. The bulk of business for flexible circuits manufacturers in Taiwan comes from the smart phone market. Taiwanese flex manufacturers supply circuits to Apple and its EMS manufacturers, as well as manufacturers in mainland China and Korea. These data suggest the global market for smart phones has slowed down continuously. Mainland China is the largest market for smart phones, and analysts provided pessimistic forecasts for 2017.

It’s tough to predict accurately where the electronics market and printed circuit industry will finish up for 2017. The trends for most of the year are mixed. I am very optimistic 2017 will finish in the black! However, I would like to advise to pay more attentions on the market data of the circuit board industry in Taiwan.

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

DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com

DKN Research Newsletter #1714, May 18, 2017 (English Edition) (Micro Electronics & Packaging). For newsletter archives, visit dknresearchllc.com/DKNRArchive/Newsletter/Newsletter.html


Headlines of the Week

1. Taiwan Flex commercialized a new transparent heat-resistant flexible circuit using transparent polyimide film and cover resin for LED modules.

2. Sumitomo Forestry has begun operation of biomass power generation utilizing timber tips in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. The company plans to expand the capacity to 200MW by the end of 2019.

3. Toppan Forms will build a new manufacturing plant in Shizuoka Pref. for the volume production of IoT-related products such as ID cards and IC labels.

4. Murata commercialized a new SMT type capacitor series with 10pF ~ 1500pF, for power-supply modules. The height from the board surface is less than 2.5 mm.

5. Sony commercialized a new high-speed CMOS image sensor, “IMX382.” It processes 1,000 frames per second.

6. Asahi Denka Laboratory commercialized a new transparent flexible laminate with high heat resistance for transparent flexible circuits.

7. Kyoto University co-developed a gateway device for small size IoT devices based on the global standard, Wi- SUN FUN.

8. Hitachi Automotive Systems developed a 48V lithium ion battery with high output density for next-generation mild hybrid automobiles.

9. Shimazu developed a testing device that measures temperature and carbon dioxide level at the same time in the working engine.

10. Tokyo Gas developed a process technology to optimize the efficiency of fuel cell devices to 65%, for home use generators. 11. Oki Cable will introduce new transparent heat-resistant flexible circuits during JPCA Show 2017 held in Tokyo Big Sight from June 7-10.

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