Following the exit from the HDI market at the end of last year, only a year later, news of Samsung Electro-Mechanics’ exit from the RFPCB market has become increasingly popular.
In the era of the Internet of Everything, driven by 5G, HDI and RFPCB, as the two relatively advanced products of the PCB industry, have seen increasing market demand in recent years. “With more and more manufacturers entering the field, intensified competition has led to rampant low-price strategies, and the profit margins of leading manufacturers have been continuously compressed. When profitability declines, giant manufacturers are forced to leave the market.” .
In contrast, the types of consumer electronics are becoming more and more diversified, and the demand for subdivided applications continues to grow. Domestic PCB manufacturers also see opportunities in their layout.
In the near future, it is rumored that Samsung Electro-Mechanics will withdraw from the rigid flex board market. The industry predicts that Samsung Electro-Mechanics’ market share may be divided among Korean manufacturers YP Electronics, Interflex, and Taiwanese manufacturer Unimicron.
It is reported that Samsung Electro-Mechanics RFPCB is mainly used for OLED panels produced by Samsung Display, a related company, and these OLED panels are adopted by Samsung Electronics, Apple, and Chinese smartphone manufacturers. Currently, Samsung Display RFPCB suppliers include Samsung Electro-Mechanics, BH, YP Electronics, Interflex, and Xinxing.
However, RFPCB brings about 362 million U.S. dollars in revenue to Samsung Electro-Mechanics every year, but due to the decline in profits, Samsung Electro-Mechanics has started to retreat.
It is worth noting that just a year ago, Samsung Electro-Mechanics decided to close the HDI factory in Kunshan, China, and officially withdrew from the high-density interconnect board (HDI, high-density PCB) market.
It is understood that Korean brands have a high demand for rigid and flexible boards, which has driven Korean PCB manufacturers such as Samsung Electro-Mechanics and BH Flex to invest relatively concentrated and advanced in the field of flexible and rigid boards, but they also mainly serve their own brands. need.
However, in recent years, the demand for rigid-flex boards from non-Korean manufacturers has also begun to grow, and the supply systems of Taiwanese and Chinese manufacturers have gradually improved, and their production capacity has gradually expanded, gradually extending from battery modules, mobile phone lens modules, etc. to automotive electronic ADAS In areas such as lens modules and other component modules, it is not easy for Korean manufacturers to obtain non-Korean orders.
At the same time, price wars are also one of the influencing factors. “RFPCB is one of the three major sectors of Samsung Electro-Mechanics’ PCB business. After exiting the HDI market last year, it was a helpless move to abandon the RFPCB business. The decline in profitability was a flaw. Finally, the remaining package substrates of the PCB business are also expanding OLED displays. The domestic mobile phone brand of the screen is trying to improve profitability.” Industry insiders said.
“Where there is a market, there is competition, and where there is competition, there is lethality.” When the giants leave the market, domestic manufacturers see more opportunities. Under market demand, manufacturers that have entered or expanded production in recent years have also A lot.
Rush into the game
The birth and development of FPC and PCB have given birth to a rigid flex board, a circuit board with both FPC and PCB characteristics.
At that time, Apple released AirPods, driving the trend of wireless Bluetooth headsets. As the mainstream technology adopted by AirPods, the rigid-flex board has fully benefited from Taiwanese supply chain manufacturers such as Xinxing, Huatong, and Yaohua. The release of the second-generation AirPods also brought the technology of rigid-flex board to its peak.
However, the good times are not long. At the end of 2019, Apple’s high-end AirPods Pro products changed from a rigid flex board to a SiP plus a flexible board solution, which gradually lost the stage in the TWS product with the highest market share.
At the same time, people familiar with the industry revealed: “Apple may also abandon the use of rigid and flex combination boards in its mobile phone battery modules in the new iPhone in 2021, and switch to SiP solutions.”
Nowadays, while Apple’s technological route is constantly upgrading and gradually abandoning the use of rigid flex boards, the domestic PCB market is constantly deepening the rigid flex boards, driven by the application of lens modules, TWS headsets, wearable devices, and automotive electronics. The penetration rate.
It is true that Apple, as the vane of the smartphone industry, is relatively at the forefront of technological innovation. Benefiting from the demand for multi-lens modules in mobile phones, the rigid-flex board has become one of the most powerful technologies for growth in 2019. With the gradual expansion of segmented application fields, it has also attracted the layout of some small and medium-sized Taizhong manufacturers and mainland manufacturers.
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