Taiwan is the benchmark for controlling the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing the infection rate throughout the country with very few deaths. The electronics industry in Taiwan grew throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks an increase in cases has been reported. The numbers are still small but growing, and the Taiwanese are scrambling to secure enough vaccines for their population.
The electronics industry is performing well. The following graph shows monthly shipments for the Taiwanese PCB industry. The blue line represents rigid board circuits, and the pink line represents flexible circuits:
Figure 1: Monthly PCB shipments in Taiwan.
Rigid circuit board shipments remained flat over the last 10 months with an exception during February (seasonal drop due to the lunar vacation.) The PCB manufacturers are concerned with a bottleneck in the material supply chain that is affecting production capacities. If the supply line replenishment smooths out, more circuit boards will ship. Most manufacturers are very confident with their projections because of the strong demands for notebook and tablet PCs.
The flexible circuits segment tends to be seasonal depending on Apple’s iPhone sales. Historically, sales peak during the fourth quarter from Christmas demand. The monthly shipments of flexible circuits continue the same trend as last year with digit growth. Apple reached the lead position for smart phone sales during the fourth quarter. If their popularity continues, shipments for flexible circuity will grow for the rest of the year.
The semiconductor shortage throughout the world is hitting the automobile industry the hardest. Many automobile manufacturers temporarily reduced or stopped production. Figure 2 shows the global shipment of the semiconductors. China leads the way, but other Asian countries are posting strong results over the last 10 months (Taiwan is one of the major contributors). Demand outweighs supply by a long shot; this imbalance will remain for the next few quarters. The Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturers will enjoy a business feast for a while.
Figure 2: Monthly semiconductor shipments by area.
The only fly in the ointment for Taiwan and other Asian countries is the increase in COVID-19 cases. This should take care of itself within a couple of months with the supply of vaccines earmarked for most of these countries. I am confident the pandemic with be behind us and business will continue to grow.
Headlines of the Week
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1. NIMS (Major R&D organization in Japan) 5/31
Has developed an all-printable process to generate TFT devices on various substrates including plastic films silicon wafer because of low sintering temperature (90°C).
2. Alps Alpine (Major module manufacturer in Japan) 6/15
Has introduced a new obstacle detector module for the next generation electric carts. A low-cost active IR stereo camera module measures the distance to the objects.
3. TPCA (Taiwan Printed Circuit Association) 6/16
May shipment of PCBs in Taiwan had revenue of $NT58.8 billion, 1.1% increase from the previous month, 16.8% increase YoY.
4. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) 6/23
Has commercialized a new copper laminate series, “R-1515V,” for next generation semiconductor packaging. They provide high reliability by excellent dimensional stability.
5. Toshiba (Major electric and electronics company in Japan) 6/25
Has developed a new structure for SiC-based MOSFET devices. The new structure ensures higher reliability and lower power loss at higher temperatures over 175°C.
6. Renesas Electronics (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Japan) 6/25
The #3 facility in the Naka Plant has recovered completely from the fire in March. Production has already begun and should be 100% operational by the end of July.
7. Osaka University (Japan) 6/28
Has developed a new bonding process for Teflon resins introducing a new surface treatment called “Thermo Assyst Plasma Treatment” instead of sodium based chemical process.
8. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) 6/28
Has opened a new customer service laboratory, Network Connect Lab, in Yokohama for 5G collaboration with the customers.
9. Toshiba Device & Storage (Device manufacturer in Japan) 6/28
Has demonstrated a new connection system for prototype modules of IT systems that does not require soldering.
10. Tohoku University (Japan) 6/29/2021
Has co-developed a new method to analyze the chemical process of the de-oxidation in the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries. The method is applicable for various secondary batteries.
EPTE Newsletter: Dominique K. Numakura is the managing director of DKN Research LLC. Contact email@example.com for further information and news.