Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - Page 13 News List

PCB makers to face tougher competition next year

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese printed circuit board (PCB) and casing makers may encounter intensifying competition next year, as they face undercutting by Chinese rivals amid the rise in popularity of low-cost PCs and mobile devices, local market research house Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC, 資策會) said yesterday.

“PC makers have to roll out more lower-priced laptops and source lower-priced components to counter the effects of smartphones and tablets,” MIC senior manager Charles Chou (周士雄) told a forum.

Citing a survey by China’s largest shopping Web site, Taobao.com (淘寶), Chou said the average selling price of a tablet is expected to drop to US$175 next year from an estimated US$198 this year.

Following this trend, China’s top PCB makers, including Founder Technology Group Corp (方正), China Circuit Technology (Shantou) Corp (汕頭超聲) and Shennan Circuit Co Ltd (深南電路), have increased their global market share to between 40 percent and 50 percent as of last month, Chou said.

Taiwan’s PCB makers such as Unimicron Technology Corp (欣興) and Zhen Ding Technology Holding Ltd (臻鼎) currently supply up to 30 percent of the world’s PCB products, but Chinese PCB makers are nibbling away at their market shares by offering lower-priced products, Chou said.

Adopting low pricing strategies, China’s leading casing makers, including BYD Co (比亞迪), Tongda Group Holdings Ltd (通達集團) and Jiarui International Group Ltd (嘉瑞國際), increased their global market shares to about 30 percent as of last month, according to MIC.

The problems faced by Taiwanese casing makers such as Catcher Technology Co (可成科技) and Foxconn Technology Co (鴻準) would be smaller because of their technological advantages, Chou said. Catcher and Foxconn Technology make metal casings, while most Chinese companies make plastic casings, Chou said. The shrinking demand for PCs would still cause them problems, he added.

The worldwide shipment of laptops would continue contracting by 3 percent to 4 percent to about 167 million units next year after a 10-percent decline to 173 million units this year, MIC forecast.

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