Weiner’s World—February 2017

Reading time ( words)

DKN Research stated that it was tough navigating between the trade show booths because the aisles were full with people. It is now the vogue to have related exhibitions held concurrently.  For this reason, the exhibition gets bigger each year. The following events were held simultaneously: 

  • 9th Light-Tech Expo
  • 18th PWB EXPO (Printed Wiring Boards Expo)
  • 3rd WEARABLE EXPO (Wearable Device & Technology Expo)
  • 1st RoboDex (Robot Development & Application EXPO)
  • 9th CAR-ELE JAPAN (Int’l Automotive Electronics Technology Expo)
  • 8th V Japan (EV & HEV Drive System Technology Expo)
  • 7th Automobile Lightweight Technology Expo
  • 5th Connected Car Japan
  • 3rd CAR-MECHA JAPAN (Automotive Components & Processing Technology Expo)
  • 1st SMART FACTORY Expo

The East Hall expanded the floor space 30% this year to accommodate the new exhibitors. There was a major increase in space reserved for the automobile vendors. More than half the total floor space was dedicated to car electronics or related products.  

The PCB section of the show was smaller this year. Many of the major circuit manufacturers did not reserve booths. Several mid-sized manufacturers introduced upgraded technologies such as MLBs with over 100 layers and MIL-certified rigid-flex. FiWLCSP and FoWLCSP have become the common technology for IC substrate suppliers. Manufacturers have developed processes to generate traces of <10 microns. Specialty chemical suppliers featured competitive solutions for the semi-additive processes capable of producing 2-micron traces. Several new circuit manufacturers from Taiwan, Mainland China and other Asian countries showed technology and quality levels on a par with Japanese companies. 

Flex circuit manufacturers featured new technical concepts for stretchable circuits and transparent circuits using new substrate and conductor materials. However, the ideas for application enabled products is still in its infancy and will take a few more years to commercialize. 

Companies affiliated with assembling sections were present at the show. Manufacturers for mounting machines and soldering occupied relatively large spaces, but there were fewer companies compared with last year’s show, and most of were headquartered in Japan. EMS manufactures had one company headquartered in Japan. They were happy to report their revenue topped over $1 billion dollars due to expansions in China, Vietnam and Mexico. 

Business for the consumer electronics industry in Japan remains sluggish. Many electronics companies are still shaking the bushes looking for new business, especially from the automobile market.  ----- Dominque Numakura. 

Reports from China are that business slowed again after a brief spurt in December and January. 

According to the latest IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the smartphone market in China saw a 19% YoY growth and 17% QoQ growth in the 4th quarter of 2016. The market grew by 9% for the full year. The four Chinese vendors in the top five were the same as in 2015, and their share grew from 46% in 2015 to 57% in 2016. 

"Increased dependence on mobile apps has led to consumers to seek phone upgrades, thus helping drive the large growth in 2016Q4. In lower-tiered cities, there was a similar demand by consumers, which OPPO and Vivo met by aggressively pushing mid-range smartphones in these cities," said Tay Xiaohan, Senior Market Analyst with IDC Asia/Pacific's Client Devices team. 

Here’s a quick view of what to expect from the China smartphone market in 2017:

  • Chinese vendors will continue to focus on their international expansion plans. At present, out of the top three Chinese vendors in China, Huawei is the most successful with half of its shipments coming from markets outside China in 2016Q4. We expect these vendors to increase their shipments in the international market, with India as a key target for these top Chinese vendors.
  • Chinese vendors are starting to launch phones with dual cameras and curved screens. We expect that to be the norm for most flagships in 2017. Cameras will continue to be a key focus in the marketing messages by vendors especially given the strong selfie culture in China, as exemplified by the popularity of apps such as Meitu.


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