My last column focused on the growth of the PCB industry in Taiwan. I was optimistic that sales would continue to be robust as the electronics market gears up for the holidays, and shipments were on track to show double-digit growth compared with the same month last year. I expected volume to grow by more than 15% for the whole year. However, the electronics market in Taiwan experienced a significant downturn during the Q3, so I have to step back from my optimistic outlook.
Shipments for the PCB industry during the Q2 and the beginning of Q3 came in at double-digit growth, and revenue for August increased by more than 13% compared to the same month last year. Manufacturers throughout the mobile device supply chain predicted sales would increase even more during Q4.
Unfortunately, September’s numbers do not support this prediction. Revenue growth of the printed circuit industry during September unexpectedly dropped to 4.3%. The rigid circuit board segment had a record month for shipments during August; however, shipments during September declined by 3.3% compared to the previous month. This was the first month to post a decline since the Chinese New Year vacation. Flexible circuit manufacturers announced an increase in revenue, but the growth rates are slowing.
There are significant differences among printed circuit manufacturers relative to volume. Rigid board manufacturers Unimicron and Nanya PCB reported double-digit growth during September, while Compeq, Chin-Poon, and Flexium posted negative growth. The largest flex circuit manufacturer, ZD Technology, reported that growth was flat for September.
Apple is the largest business contributor to the electronics and circuit board industry in Taiwan. The manufacturers in the supply chain are anxious about sales for the new iPhone. The retail price for the new iPhone X is much higher than market analysts expected. Manufacturers are leaning towards a pessimistic opinion for iPhone sales during Christmas due to the high retail price and are considering decreasing their inventories.
It may be too early to predict the buying behaviors of the consumer. Since the economy is firing on all cylinders and the unemployment rate is at record lows, I think sales will be robust for the electronics industry.
1. Canon (Electronics company in Japan) 10/11
Released photolithography equipment with a resolution of 2-micron lines and spaces for eighth-generation FPD lines (2200 x 2500 mm).
2. NEC Corporation (Electronics company in Japan) 10/11
Developed a new noise-canceling technology for devices, which could be valuable to expand the applicable area to industrial.
3. JUKI (Circuit board machine manufacturer in Japan) 10/15
Partnered with Hitachi to optimize the productivities of the circuit board manufacturing lines introducing IoT.
4. Murata Manufacturing (Device manufacturer in Japan) 10/15
Developed a series of coin lithium batteries with large currency and heat resistance for automobile applications.
5. TDK Corporation (Device manufacturer in Japan) 10/16
Released a solid-state secondary battery—CeraCharge—which is available for the standard SMT process of PCBs.
6. Taiyo Yuden (Device manufacturer in Japan) 10/16
Released a series of large capacity MLCC-type solid secondary lithium ion batteries with a size of 32 x 24 mm.
7. Sharp (Electronics company in Japan) 10/16
Unveiled the first flexible color display of organic electroluminescent investing 57.6 billion yen (6.18”, 536-ppi resolution).
8. Fujitsu General (Electronics company in Japan) 10/18
Developed a wearable cooling system for business use combining a Peltier device and water heat remover.
9. Murata (Device manufacturer in Japan) 10/19
Demonstrated a series of flexible piezoelectric sensors built on thin plastic films that are capable of detecting various modes of mechanical motions.
10. Taiyo Yuden (Device manufacturer in Japan) 10/19
Developed a series of new packaging technology power overlay (POL) for power devices, such as GaN and SiC.
11. E Ink (Display maker in Taiwan) 10/19
Unveiled several new color ePaper displays with 32,000 colors (13.3” and 32”), and volume production will start in Q1 of 2019.
Dominique K. Numakura is the managing director of DKN Research LLC. Contact email@example.com for further information and news.