Just about all electronic equipment uses printed circuit boards or flexible circuits for wiring and packaging materials. Electronic companies design their products then place orders for PCBs. Supply chains order accordingly and business trends begin to unfold from the PCB industry. This sounds simple enough, but countries and regions collect manufacturing data differently, so you have to understand statistical industry data before making forecasts.
The Ministry of Economy and Industry (METI) in Japan provides monthly shipping data from manufacturers that include volume and revenue. These dara are categorized into three buckets; rigid circuit boards, flexible circuits and module substrates. METI collects shipping data from Japanese manufacturers monthly, but these manufacturers outsource to other countries and this data does not include outsourced production. It is difficult to determine the percent of business shifted to other countries, but most of us believe the number is about 60%.
IPC in the US provides monthly industry data collected from a book and bill ratio comparing shipping data within North American. The data compare revenue changes from the industry collected from manufacturers. These data are not absolute revenue, so the industry results can’t be compared to other regions.
The Taiwan Printed Circuit Association (TPCA) provides monthly shipping revenue from publicly traded companies listed on the Taipei Stock Exchange. There are 40 companies categorized into two groups: rigid board or flexible circuits. The shipping data are provided within three weeks after the month ended and are reported quickly enough to determine business trends from the global electronics industry. The data are a little convoluted because production for many manufacturers is in mainland China, and revenue includes shipments from here.
The TPCA also provides quarterly shipping data from 22 publicly traded companies in China (many manufacturers are headquartered in other countries). There are two industry associations in China: The China Printed Circuit Association (CPCA) and The Hong Kong Printed Circuit Association (HKPCA). Data from some manufacturers could be counted twice, and there are a few thousand PCB manufacturers in China that do not report their volume.
ZVEI, the PCB industry association in Germany, provides quarterly market data from the German region that includes Switzerland and Austria. Similar to those data collected from the IPC, absolute revenue is not counted, so industry results can’t be compared to other regions.
The Korea Printed Circuit Association (KPCA) provides an annual report from the industry, so trends are difficult to detect in a timely manner.
There is no uniform method of collecting data from our industry. Evaluating numerical market information is difficult for the global market. The World Electronics Circuits Council (WECC) publishes an annual market report, but the infrequency of its release makes it difficult to see emerging trends.
The good news is the global PCB industry is growing! Business continues to shift from the US and Europe to the Far Eastern region and a uniformed method of reporting can provide a solid platform to make informed decisions.
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com
DKN Research Newsletter #2034, December 13th, 2020 (English Edition) (Micro Electronics & Packaging)
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