The production value of Taiwan’s printed circuit board (PCB) industry is expected to contract by 3.06 percent this year to NT$499.6 billion (US$16.62 billion) from a year earlier, a report said last week.
However, one bright spot is flexible PCB segment, which is expected to see higher output this quarter due to launches of new products by Apple Inc, the Industrial Economics and Knowledge Research Center (IEK) — a research unit under the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) — said on Thursday.
Taiwan’s PCB industry is facing challenges amid a softening PC industry, even though the demand for PCBs for tablet computers and smartphones is rising. The IEK’s full-year forecast was a downward revision from the 0.99 percent contraction it estimated previously.
In the research center’s report, most Taiwanese PCB makers reported declines in both revenues and profits in the April-to-June quarter from the same period last year.
As a result, the PCB industry’s overall output dropped 5.3 percent year-on-year to NT$121.1 billion in the second quarter, although that represented an increase of 4.8 percent from the first quarter.
For this quarter, the report said the industry’s output would grow 9 percent sequentially and 1 percent annually to NT$132 billion. However, overall output will see a sequential decline of 0.8 percent to NT$131 billion in the final quarter this year due to seasonal factors, down 1.7 percent year-on-year, IEK said.
Yuanta Investment Consulting Co analyst (元大投顧) Liu Szu-liang (劉思良) said that prior to the planned launches of new smartphone and tablet products by major brands, revenues of mobile phone PCB makers could rise by between 10 percent and 20 percent, and those for flexible PCB suppliers, such as Zhen Ding Technology Holding Ltd (臻鼎) and Flexium Interconnect Inc (台郡), could climb between 40 percent and 100 percent.
“The high-season effect will continue working through the first half of next year,” Liu said in a note on Friday.
Citigroup Global Markets analyst Roland Shu (徐振志) said he expected the flexible PCB segment to see strong growth next year due to rising demand and few newcomers in a concentrated market.
“Smartphones replacing feature phones and tablets displacing traditional notebooks are two important trends driving the growth of the flexible PCB industry,” Shu said in a report released on Tuesday. “Growing tablet PC demand should allay fears of too much customer concentration.”