Dominique K. Numakura's Newsletter from Japan
Feb 08, 2008
INTERNEPCON 2008 (Part I)
The New Year kicked off with a three day major global event for the printed circuit board and related industries at Tokyo Big Sight on January 16. Companies with related products at the exhibitions included, Elector Test Japan, IC Packaging, PWB Expo, ELE Trade, Laser & Optics Expo and Fiber Optics Expo. The size of the exhibition grows larger and larger each year, and more than 1500 companies and organizations reserved booths this year. Reed Exhibitions Japan, the worlds leading organizer of trade and consumer events, orchestrated the event, and plan-o-gramed floor space that was 40% more than last year; however this still did not satisfy the demand from companies wanting to reserve booth space. The space allocated for most companies was not large enough to accommodate all their products.
The number of the visitors also increase year over year, and this year, the crowd numbered more than one hundred thousand over the three days. Long lines of people formed at the registration kiosk well before the 10:00 a.m. opening. Aisles between the booths were filled to capacity during the show, and the afternoon of the third day was by far the busiest. It looked like rush hour at the big stations in Tokyo. Space was so limited that is was nearly impossible to navigate from booth to booth, and many chose to swim with the current. To accommodate the crowds, the exhibition time was extended to 6:00 p.m., and many visitors checked out as many booths as possible in the last minutes.
This year, many foreign visitors were at attendance, mostly from Asian countries. American and European visitors were still the minority; however, their numbers increases compared to previous years. I could recognize great numbers of Asian visitors from Korea, Taiwan and China. The only way to distinguish Asian from Japanese visitors is through conversations with the interpreters escorting them. The same held true with large contingent of Chinese visitors who also used interpreters.
There was an eclectic collection of products on display at the show. The first section inside the main entrance was reserved for the ELE Trade, were foreign vendors utilized their space to feature electronic components and materials. Many Chinese companies were limited to smaller sized booths to promote their products. Unfortunately, the technical level of the displayed products is sub par compared to their Japanese counterparts, and were not very attractive to their target audience. I assume the Chinese company's business plan is to offer lower costs for conventional products; however, their prospective leads at the exhibition place an emphasis on leading edge technologies making it difficult for these Chinese companies to attract new business.
Several leading Korean and Taiwanese companies representing materials, circuit boards, and manufacturing equipment reserved relatively large booths on the main floor. In terms of technology, their products are almost equivalent compared those from the leading edge manufacturers in Japan, but their prices are much lower. This is one feature they touted throughout the exhibition to make gains into the volume consumer business.
I think some attributes at the exhibition represents a true to life business trends for the global electronics industry. Japanese companies promote their leading edge technologies; Korean and Taiwanese companies promote their ability to manufacture the majority of consumer products; Chinese companies deliver the actual production for volume business; and North American and European companies contribute specific materials or equipment.
Dominique K. Numakura
Headlines of the week
Semiconductor Industry News (Industrial media in Japan) 1/16
Has reported that semiconductor assembling & packaging market in Taiwan grew 16.7% to 246 billion NT$ in 2007.
Rohm (Major component supplier in Japan) 1/16
Has developed a new series of the ultra low resistance 2012 and 3216 size chip resistors for the mobile electronics.
KEL (Major connector manufacturer in Japan) 1/16
Has commercialized a new series of board to board connectors "DP Series" with 0.8 mm pitches.
Nikon Engineering (Optical equipment manufacturer in Japan) 1/16
Has developed a new high-resolution exposure machine for magnetic head of the disc drives and MEMS processes.
Sangyo Times (Industrial media in Japan) 1/16
The total investment of the 13 major Japanese PWB manufacturers in 2007 could be 170 billion yens. Many of them invested for overseas facilities.
Asahi Kasei Techno Plus (Subsidiary of Asahi Kasei) 1/18
Has developed a new flat panel light source "Diamond Panel" based on the LED array technology.
ShinEtsu Chemical (Major chemical company in Japan) 1/18
Has commercialized a new adhesiveless base flexible copper laminates for thin flexible circuits with high flexing endurance. The new laminate reduces the thickness of the flexible circuits 30% and increase the flexing life 5 times.
Naganuma Art Screen (Screen mask supplier in Japan) 1/23
Has a set of high resolution screen printing technologies for the ceramic base thick film circuits down to 20 micron lines.
TMDT (Major display manufacturer in Japan) 1/25
Has developed a new OLED with doubled operation life and higher power efficiency for mobile equipment.
Shirai Denshi (Major PWB manufacturer in Japan) 1/28
Has been approved to build a new manufacturing plant in China for double and multi-layer circuit boards. Shirai will invest about 5 billion yens.
Okuno Medicine (Supplier of specialty chemicals in Japan) 1/29
Has developed a new additive chemical "Top Rutina GT" for the copper plating bath of the through holes. GT makes the throwing power much higher.
Nippon Steel Chemical (Major supplier of flexible laminates) 1/29
Will build a new plant in Kyushu for the volume manufacturing of "Silplus", heat resistant and transparent film developed for the display devices.
Hitachi (Major electric and electronics company in Japan) 1/30
Has developed a new heat resistant lead-free soldering system for power electronics. New soldering alloy (Sn/Cu) survives over 1000 hours at 200 degree C.