I’ve said this many times, and it is true; the Taiwanese PCB industry is a great barometer for the electronics industry. Taiwan is the global manufacturing center for consumer electronics, and Taiwanese PCB manufacturers have accurate procurement plans from their end customers and EMS companies. The sharp decline during the last quarter of 2018 is a good example of the barometer predicting an outcome.
PCB monthly shipments for the first 3 quarters show some positive growth compared to the same periods of the previous year. However, growth was stagnant during October and November, and declined significantly in December. Cleary things were slowing down and the global electronics industry feared a recession.
The graph pasted above shows a decline shortly after December for the industry, and related industries that include components and materials posted similar declines.
Market data for the first half of the year shows that shipments are flat, and several market analysts are predicting that the industry is at the bottom. They further go on to say there could be a rebound for the second half of the year.
I am not as optimistic. The latest monthly PCB shipments in Taiwan are negative compared with the same time last year. I surveyed a few manufacturing buyers about the current state of their business, and they claim that shipments of PCB materials are slowing and are less than the same time last year. Many PCB manufacturers now have a conservative stance when making additional investments earmarked for business expansions.
So, as Taiwan goes, do global markets follow? There are a lot of pokers in the fire that are stirring up an uneasiness for the industry – trade wars, political agendas, Brexit, Turkish Financial crisis – pick one! There are some many things that can affect the buying habits of consumers.
I have faith that management teams for many electronics companies have seen this before, and are considering plans to hedge any downturn in business. The bottom line is that everything has a cycle, and you just have to know where you are in the cycle.
Dominique K. Numakura, firstname.lastname@example.org
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com
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Headlines of the week
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- Murata (Major device supplier in Japan) 8/4
Has decided to invest 4.7 billion yens for the manufacturing expansion of MLCC including new facilities in Shimane Prefecture.
- Toshiba (Major electric & electronics company in Japan) 9/4
Has developed a new film base organic light sensor with high sensitivity. It is also capable as beta ray sensor.
- Mitsubishi Electric (Major electric & electronics company in Japan) 9/3
Has developed a new GaN-HEMT with multi-cell construction using diamond base package. It makes heat radiation rate much higher.
- Murata (Major device supplier in Japan) 8/28
Plans to make battery manufacturing as core business. Murata bought battery business from Sony in 2017.
- LG Display (Major display supplier in Korea) 9/5
Has an aggressive expansion plan in China for manufacturing of organic EL panels to keep the leading position in the global market.
- Acer (Major electronics company in Taiwan) 9/5
Has unveiled a series of new products for 14” laptop PCs, mobile workstations and gaming devices.
- ASUSTek (Major electronics company in Taiwan) 9/5
Has debut a new gaming smartphone with “ROG” brand name as the mile stone product for 30 years anniversary.
- TDK (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 9/5
Has rolled out new inductor “SPM-VT Series” with small package introducing a newly developed metallic magnetic material for automobile applications.
- Sharp (Major electronics company in Japan) 9/5
Has released a new high end smartphone for European market with 8K+5G and AIoT (Artificial IoT).
- Mitsubishi Electric (Major electric & electronics company in Japan) 9/6
Has developed a new corrosion sensor of metallic parts available for surface mounting on printed circuit boards. Size: 1.6 x 0.8 mm
- Tokyo University (Japan) 9/6
Is successful to produce nano-disc structure of InGaAs/GaAs with low defects combining bio-templates and neutral particle beam etching.
- Toshiba (Major electric & electronics company in Japan) 9/9
Has developed a new radio wave imaging system as the detector of hazard subjects.
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