Dominique Numakura's Newsletter from Japan
Apr 19, 2005
Mysterious PWB industry in Korea
I had big news about the Korean PWB industry several weeks ago from my friend in the country. The Korea Circuit Group (KCC), one of the major PWB manufacturing companies was sold to Young Poon Group, one of the major flexible circuit manufacturers in Korea. The largest flexible circuit manufacturer, Inter Flex, one of the subsidiaries of KCC was included in the deal. Most of the major Korean medias reported this major event. However, it was a mystery that I never heard the big news through English media or Japanese media.
The Korean PWB industry is a major segment in the global market. There is more than ten manufacturers reporting over one hundred million dollar revenues. They have been producing a large volume of multi-layer boards and high density flexible circuits. The industry has maintained high growth rates for the last two decades. They have been expanding the manufacturing not only in Korea, but also in the foreign countries.
As you know, the Korean electronics industry is the major part of the global electronics market and a lot of industrial news and information about the industry gets released through the English media and Japanese media every day. However, there is little coverage about the PWB industry.
There could be a couple of reasons why the industry information does not reach foreign countries. Different language is one of the barriers, the domestic market structure is another reason. The major market for the Korean PWB manufacturers is the huge Korean electronics industry including cellular phones, semiconductors and consumer products. The Korean PWB manufacturers pay little attention to the foreign customers.
The Korean PWB industry has been entering a new era with the formation of KPCA (Korea Printed Circuit Association) two years ago. The KPCA Show 2005 will be held this week in COEX of Seoul, Korea, I will visit the exhibition to have direct information from this mysterious industry.
Headlines of the week
Hitachi Display (Major display supplier in Japan)
Will expand the business of small and middle size LCD devices with LTPS (Low Temperature Poly Silicon).
Hitachi Metal (Major metal supplier in Japan)
Commercialized the world smallest 3D motion sensor "H34C" (3.4 x 3.7 x 0.92 mm) for the portable products with disc drives.
Sanyo (Major electronics company in Japan)
Will increase the manufacturing capacity of rectangular shape lithium ion battery for portable electronics from half million units per month to 2 million units per month.
JVC (Major electronics company in Japan)
Has established the manufacturing process of the first DVD-RW with double layer for the one side construction. The disc has an 8.4 GB capacity and it is enough for 11 hours of movies.
Hitachi Chemical (Major PWB material supplier in Japan)
Has developed an ultra thin glass/epoxy material series, "Cute" (20 micron thick) for multilayer boards and rigid/flex.
Fujikura (Major cable and flex circuit manufacturer in Japan)
Has developed a new pressure sensor device using a MEMS technology for automobile applications.
JVC (Major electronics company in Japan)
Released a new rear projection TV series with a reflection type LCD device for 52" and 61" screens. The new TV has a higher brightness than PDP TV. It targets the prices ten thousand yens per inch.
Murata (Major component supplier in Japan)
Unveiled a new embedded passive technology with a hybrid technology of organic substrates and ceramic substrates.
Alps Electric (Major component supplier in Japan)
Has made a prototype device of CPP type GMR elements with a high MR ratio (11.5%) using a half metal technology.
Hitachi GTS (Major disc drive manufacturer)
Will release a new large capacity disc drive series for the portable electronics including iPod utilizing the 30 GB per square inch technology.
Sharp (Major electronics company in Japan)
Has made a prototype head device for the new thermal assist type disc drives. The new device will make the memory density up to 250 G bits per square inch.
Tohoku University (Japan)
Has made the highest MR ratio record (287%) of the TMR elements at room temperature for the large capacity disc drives.
Toray (Major chemical company in Japan)
Will invest another 5 billion Yens to found a new manufacturing plant of the polyimide film base fine circuits in Korea. The capacity will be double.
Showa Denko (Major chemical company in Japan)
Will increase the manufacturing capacity of disc substrate 21.5% to 13 million discs per month for the booming of small drives by March 2006.