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Montag, 17 August 2020 06:59

NTI-100 Supplement

von Dr. Hayao Nakahara
Geschätzte Lesezeit: 7 - 13 Minuten

After finishing NTI-100-2019, author looked further into NTI-100 in the past, which reassured the prominence of Taiwanese and Chinese PCB makers. In this report, the Taiwanese and Chinese situations will be exploited.

Rise of Taiwan and China

The table below indicates the rise of Taiwanese and Chinese PCB makers in the last 20 years.

Historic Change of World Top 20 PCB Makers
Rank 1998 2000 2008 2019
Maker Country Rev ($M) Maker Country Rev($M) Maker Country Rev($M) Maker Country Rev($M)
1 CMK JP 1,031 Sanmina US 1,550 Ibiden JP 1,629 ZDT Taiwan 3,887
2 Viasystems US 980 Viasystems US 1,250 Unimicron TW 1,489 TTM USA 2,689
3 Ibiden JP 980 CMK JP 1,112 N.Mektron JP 1,233 Unimicron Taiwan 2,668
4 Hadco US 765 Ibiden JP 1,083 Nanya TW 1,179 N.Mektron Japan 2,579
5 N.Mektron JP 660 Hitachi JP 873 SEMCO KR 1,174 DSBJ China 2,115
6 Hitachi JP 582 N.Mektron JP 905 CMK JP 1,076 Compeq Taiwan 1,816
7 Compeq TW 547 Compeq TW 802 KB Chem HK 1,014 Tripod Taiwan 1,760
8 Shinko JP 478 Multek US 780 Tripod TW 933 SCC China 1,523
9 MGC JP 424 Fujitsu JP 624 Multek US 815 HannStar Taiwan 1,395
10 Panasonic JP 409 Tyco PCB US 600 Meiko JP 702 SEMCO S.Korea 1,386
11 Johnson M US 405 Shinko JP 550 Compeq TW 679 Kingboard China 1,234
12 Photocircuits US 380 Daeduck KR 480 Shinko JP 680 Ibiden Japan 1,213
13 Fujitsu JP 364 DDi US 450 Meadville HK 670 Wus Grp Taiwan 1,193
14 Nanya TW 359 IBM Grp US 450 LG Innotek KR 646 Y. Poong S.Korea 1,149
15 Multek US 340 Panasonic JP 445 AT&S AU 646 AT&S Austria 1,119
16 IBM Grp US 320 Nanya TW 440 Fujikura JP 635 Meiko Japan 1,060
17 Daeduck KR 317 Photocircuits US 400 HannStar TW 633 Nanya PCB Taiwan 1,005
18 DDi US 290 Worldwiser TW 400 TTM US 596 Fujikura Japan 956
19 NEC JP 275 SEMCO KR 400 Foxconn TW 550 Daeduck S.Korea 920
20 Tyco PCB US 270 WUS TW 390 Gold Circuit TW 545 Kinwong China 914
  Top 20 Total 10,176 Top 20 Total 13,984 Top 20 Total 17,524 Top 20 Total 32,181
  World Total   34,770     42,707     50,110 62,237
  Top 20 Share   29.30%     32.70%     34.80% 51.71%

(N.T. Information Ltd)

In 1998, there were only two makers from Taiwan in the list. Compeq and Nanya. In two years, the number of Taiwan entry increased to four and eight years later, the number increased to seven, 35 percent of 20. The number in 2019 remained seven, but the makers all increased the revenue “tremendously”. ZDT was in 2008 table as Foxconn (Foxconn Advanced Technology or FAT) with $ 550 million revenue. In 2019, its revenue climbed to nearly $ 4 billion. With the purchase of Boardtek, a fellow Taiwan PCB maker, and the current growth mode will push ZDT to be $ 4.5 billion maker in 2020. This one maker’s output will be two times the entire European output!

The sum of Taiwanese entries’ revenues is interesting to see,

1998 $906 million
2000 $2,032 million
2008 $6,008 million
2019 $12,329 million

Although the durations of the years recorded are different, the total revenue of Taiwanese makers in the list grew 2 times from 1998 to 2000, 3 times from 2000 to 2008 and 2 times from 2008 to 2019 to $12.3 billion. 7 Taiwanese makers produced nearly the total output of 180 Japanese makers in 2019 (overseas included). Amidst current depressed market, the total output by Taiwanese stock-held and over-the -counter PCB makers grew by 3.83 percent YoY in the first half of 2020. The production by Taiwanese PCB makers started to rise further from July. The growth is driven by PC and Tablet demand because of “work-home and study-home” mode and the current surge for these products is expected last into fourth quarter, making Unimicron, Compeq, Tripod, HannStar and several others not in the list such T.P.T. (Taiwan PCB Techvest) and Gold Circuit filled with works.

The demand for high-end (Flip-Chip) IC substrates is high throughout 2020 because of 5G installations. Servers, Data Centers, Antenna/Basestations, Routers, etc., are requiring vast amount of semiconductors, making Unimicron, Nanya PCB and Kinsus (not in the table) very busy. Ibiden, Shinko Electric, and SEMCO are also benefiting from this demand. These IC substrate makers are spending about $3 billion from 2020 through 2021 altogether.

High-layer count multilayer PCB makers such as TTM, Unimiron, SCC, Wus, Kinwong and Shengyi Electronics (not in the table yet) are also very busy with the demand from Servers, Data Center (Storage), Basestations, etc., 5G related business.

About 65 percent of the production of Taiwanese makers come from China output and 3.5 percent from other overseas production bases, mainly in Thailand (small amount from Clover Electronics in Japan and Unimicron Germany both owned by Unimicron).

The figure below shows “roller coaster” picture of Taiwanese PCB production. Every year, production peaks in October-November period and nose dives in January and February because their customers go through inventory adjustment and due to reduced working days as a result of Luna New Year, which takes place in January or February depending on the year. This roller coaster pattern will repeat in 2020 again, it seems according to various news coming from Taiwan.

Not shown here, Taiwanese July output seems to be 6~7% higher Year-on-Year. There are winners and losers in any country and Taiwan is no exception. The amount of losses is more than compensated by the amount of gains.

Taiwan makers are largely dependent on Apple products. More than 50% of ZDT’s revenue comes from Apple products. Unimicron, Compeq, Tripod and Flexium (FPC maker not in the list) are major suppliers to Apple for iPhones, iPads, iMacs and AirPods. This is one of the major reasons of Taiwan PCB’s cyclic nature.

Source: TPCASource: TPCA

Taiwanese and Japanese PCB makers account for 65~70% of the world automotive PCB output. Unfortunately, automotive sales plunged 30-40% in Q1 and a part of Q2, although the sales of EV in Europe has been very strong so far this year. However, the sales unit of EVs is still 3.5% of the total automobile sales and the PCB demand from this sector is still small. Therefore, the EV boom in Europe benefits only a small number of automotive PCB suppliers. It is reported from several prominent automotive PCB makers that the demand started to increase sporadically in July.

The following picture shows Light Vehicle Sales trend (LMC Automotive). Prorated shipment based on January-June shipment indicates 2020 shipment of Light Vehicle is 76.8 million units, down from 93 million units a few years ago.

Light Vehicle Unit Sales Trend (LMC Automotive)Light Vehicle Unit Sales Trend (LMC Automotive)

In Japan, automotive PCB makers are also suffering – CMK, Meiko, Kyoden, Kyosha and Kyoden, etc. It is not so easy to live only on automotive market. Therefore, all automotive PCB makers are trying to diversify the market they serve.

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The picture below shows the future trend of vehicles driven by combustion engines and electric motors. If true, combustion engines are hard to die.

(DQI Bureau)(DQI Bureau)

Despite the total car sales in Germany is declining, EV sales is strong in 2020 as mentioned previously and seen from the picture in page 6. The world largest EV market, China, has been weak due partly to the pandemic and partly to the removal of government subsidy. To remedy the situation, the Chinese government re-instituted EV subsidy (Chinese call EV “NEV, New Energy Vehicle”) and according to China Automobile Association, June NEV sales went up to about 80,000 units.



JP Morgan forecasted in 2018 that estimated EV would account for 4 percent of all vehicles sold in 2020. Although the worldwide EV sales may not reach the value predicted in 2018, its share may be about 3.5% of the total automobile shipment in 2020.

PCB requirement for EV is different from PCB for combustion engine powered vehicles. It is interesting to observe the difference.


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Inverter circuit board for Tesla Model 3 is shaped like Stars & Stripes (Nikkei Teardown)

Going back to the table in page 1, we notice that there were no Chinese entries in 1998, 2000 and 2008. Then, “all of a sudden” we see four entries in 2018 – DSBJ (Dongshan Precison: MFlex and Multek), SCC (Shennan Circuits Corp), Kingboard Chemical PCB Group and Kinwong Electronics.

DSBJ’s PCB is the result of M&A. After Dongshan Precision acquired Mflex in May of 2016, it built an enormous FPC plant in Yancheng, north of Yangtze River, with government subsidy ($1.1 billion) and then acquired Multek at the end of 2018. Its growth comes from the acquisition and expansion.


 DSBJ Suzhou (MFlex M3 Plant)DSBJ Suzhou (MFlex M3 Plant)

 New Yancheng FPC PlantNew Yancheng FPC Plant

It seems that Multek’s performance is somewhat weak in 2020 as seen from the news below:

Multek has five plants in Zhuhai (B1, B2, B3-B-12, B4 and B5). Each having different Chinese names. Chaoyi (超毅) seems to be the name representing the entire organization. Multek was not able to invest much under FLEX (Flextronics), but now under DSBJ, it has a chance to be enlarged. Multek’s strength is its wide range of products from ordinary multilayer to high-end multilayer, HDI, FPC, Rigid-Flex, substrates, etc.

Shennan (深南電路) is a subsidiary of government owned AVIC (Aviation Industry of China). Its growth is all organic with new plants. It has plant in Longgang,(Shenzhen), Nantong, and Wuxi. Each plant has multiple number of manufacturing buildings. Its products range from high-layer count multilayer boards to IC substrates, rigid-flex boards, PCBA, etc.

Longgang Plant 2, R&D OfficeLonggang Plant 2, R&D Office

Plant 2 SidePlant 2 Side

Nantong Automotive & Communication PCB PlantsNantong Automotive & Communication PCB Plants

Wuxi Plant LayoutWuxi Plant Layout

 With the current revenue growth and new plants going into full operation, SCC has a definite possibility to achieve $2 billion revenue in two to three years.

Wuxi Front Office and R&DWuxi Front Office and R&D

Kingboard Chemical PCB Group consists of Elec & Eltek(依利安達), Techwise(科恵), Jiangmen Glory Faith(江門榮信), Express Circuits (揚宣), Nippon Circuits (東陽)and Dongguang Wan Nie Fu (東莞万年富). KB acquired all these makers. In early 2019, one of the makers, Kunshan Evertek (依利安達) was shut down for environmental reason. Under Elec & Eltek, there were two plants in Nanjing, but both were closed many years ago. 

Elec & Eltek has plants in Kaipin (KP1, KP2, KP: Guangdong Province), Yangzhou (Jinagsu Province), Guangzhou (Huangpu, 2 plants) and a plant in Pathumthani, Thailand.

Evertek Electronics in Kunshan (依利安達電子) was closed in early 2019 due to environmental issues. Nanjin plants were shut down yeas ago. KG PCB group covers wide range of applications from consumer electronics in concluding smart phones to high-end of multilayer boards for 5G infrastructure applications.


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It will take up too much pages to describe all these subsidiaries. Therefore, no further explanation of KB PCB group will be made here. Its revenue has not grown in the last several years. Of $1,234 million total revenue, approximately 30 percent come from automotive PCB. A document indicates 2019 revenue to be $1,342 million. $1,234 million is quoted from KB’s 2019 annual report.

Kinwong(景旺電子)is another rapidly growing Chinese maker. The author had a chance to visit its Plant 2 in Ji’An, Jiangxi Province three times, most recent in December of 2019. He was given a tour of the plant called “Smart Factory”. Many clever automations were observed. Everything is “Chinese Size” including 5 VCPs, each 110-meter long and handles 50,000m2 panel per month, or total of 250,000m2 per month. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) were seen everywhere carrying panels.

In China, many top managers are females, Daisy, Author and EmilyIn China, many top managers are females, Daisy, Author and Emily


 Front of Jiangxi KinwongFront of Jiangxi Kinwong

 Zhuhai Gaolan Plant (from NEPCON Japan, January 2020)Zhuhai Gaolan Plant (from NEPCON Japan, January 2020)


Picture provide by Kinwong: circa 2020 April, blue roofed workers’ housing area will be RTR FPC PlantPicture provide by Kinwong: circa 2020 April, blue roofed workers’ housing area will be RTR FPC PlantKinwong manufactures DSB, MLB, HDI Boards, Metal Core Boards, and Flexible PCB (FPC). Its application area is widening. Despite the COVID19 pandemic, Kinwong is expecting sales revenue of more than $1 billion in 2020.

Kinwong is one of the world top FPC makers (see the table in 16). Looking at the Zhuhai plant, it will start with High-Layer-Count multilayer (HLC) boards at right side building and SLP (Substrate Like PCB or high density HDI boards) at the left side building.

World Top 20 FPC makers (2019) FPC only
Rank FPC Maker
Nationality 2019 Revenue ($M)
1 ZDT (total $3887m) Taiwan 3.110
2 Mektec Japan 2.597
3 DSBJ (Mflex+Multek) China 1.790
4 Young Poon FPC S.Korea 1.030
5 Fujikura Japan 956
6 Flexium Taiwan 843
7 Sumitomo Denko Japan 671
8 BH Flex S.Korea 562
9 Career Tech Taiwan 551
10 SI Flex S.Korea 462
11 Murata Japan 450
12 Nitto Denko Japan 397
13 Xiamen Honxin China 355
14 Kinwong China 333
15 STEMCOP (COF) S.Korea 232
16 AKM China 217
17 Ichia Taiwan 201
18 MFS Singapore 180
19 Shenzhen Sandguan China 173
20 Lead-Tech China 159
  Top 20 Total   15.269

(N.T. Information Ltd)

Young Poong FPC = Young Poong Electronics +Interflex. The figures above includes FPCBA.

There are six Chinese FPC makers among world top 20.It is estimated that the global FPC output in 2019 was about $ 17 billion (inclusive of FPCA by FPC makers). 2019 world PCB output is estimated to be $76 billion. Then, FPC share is about 22 percent. Smartphone is the single largest user of FPC. For example, iPhone uses about 20 FPCs.

When it comes to Chinese PCB makers with FPC revenue less than $100 million, it is very difficult to grasp because there are at least 200 “FPC” makers (rigid board makers with FPC capability included.) 



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