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IC carrier boards drive the materials industry forward


The importance of IC carrier board

IC carrier board is the most valuable consumable in packaging: IC carrier board, an important material used to connect the chip and PCB board in IC packaging, accounts for 40-50% of the material cost in low-end packaging and 70-80% in high-end packaging, and is the most valuable material in packaging.

Demand side capacity explosion

Semiconductor industry continues to boom, chip packaging demand surges, accelerating carrier board capacity clearing. Emerging applications rolling out and PC, 5G millimeter wave cell phones and other electronic devices shipments to enhance the semiconductor boom soaring continuously. The strong chip demand drive IC carrier board shipments surge.

Specifically, ABF carrier board: downstream high-performance computing chip demand growth, heterogeneous integration technology expand the amount of single-chip carrier board. ABF carrier board downstream are mainly used in CPU, GPU, FPGA, ASIC and other high-performance computing chips.PC shipments rebounded for five consecutive quarters, data centers, 5G base station construction process accelerated, driving the demand for high-performance computing chip soared. The demand for ABF carrier boards has risen. In addition, heterogeneous integration technology increases the packaging area of a single chip and the amount of carrier board, the maturity of the technology and the widespread use will further increase the demand for ABF carrier board.

BT carrier board: 5G millimeter-wave cell phones drive demand up, eMMC chip shipments steady progress.

1)AiP is currently the preferred packaging solution for 5G millimeter-wave cell phone antenna module, BT carrier board from the function of the perfect fit AiP packaging requirements, with the 5G millimeter-wave cell phone penetration rate and shipments, BT carrier board demand to rise in line.

2) eMMC and other memory chips is the BT carrier board at present The main downstream applications, eMMC chips have been in a stable growth in the medium and long term, and the booming IoT and smart car markets further drive the new demand for eMMC chips.

3)At present, Chinese storage manufacturers such as Changjiang Storage and Hefei Changxin are entering the capacity expansion cycle and are expected to achieve a million-chip monthly capacity in 2025, driving the demand for local replacement of BT carrier boards.


Supply side capacity expansion is limited

The IC carrier board industry has high entry barriers, insufficient capacity expansion, and material and yield factors restrict supply climbing. high capital investment, stringent technical requirements and high customer barriers in the IC carrier board industry have to some extent restricted the entry of new players in the industry; while factors such as insufficient upstream raw materials and low output yield of manufacturers have seriously affected the progress of capacity expansion.

ABF carrier plate: the upstream material is monopolized + yield decline, expansion or lower than expected. ABF carrier plate key material ABF film monopoly by Japan Ajinomoto, currently, although Ajinomoto has announced that it will increase production of ABF material, but the scale of production increase than the surge in downstream demand is conservative, to 2025 production CAGR only 14%, resulting in ABF carrier plate annual capacity release can only reach 10%-15%.

In addition, the increase in the area of the ABF carrier board caused by the carrier board production yield reduction, resulting in capacity loss, in the downstream chip packaging area increase trend, means that the actual ABF carrier board capacity expansion rate will be lower than the market expectations.

BT carrier board: product life cycle is short, the leading manufacturers willingness to expand production is low. BT carrier board product life cycle is usually only about 1.5 years, so the leading overseas manufacturers for BT carrier board capacity expansion is generally on the conservative side, the current expansion plans disclosed by the major overseas manufacturers to increase production capacity by less than 10%. 

In addition, the rise in the price of ABF carrier board has led to the conversion of some BT carrier board production lines, and BT production capacity has been squeezed out, further aggravating the state of supply shortage.

IC carrier board drive the development of PCB materials industry

Although the global consumer electronics market in the second half of this year to encounter the dilemma of inventory de-stocking, the overall sales are bleak, but in the future 5G communications, IC carrier board demand is still emerging, business opportunities to drive the PCB materials industry efforts to move forward, including upstream copper foil substrate factory, glass fiber cloth, FCCL factory are accelerating investment to replace the benefits of imports to accelerate the emergence.

The glass fiber cloth industry, in the 5G communication high-frequency, high-speed and low-latency product characteristics requirements, Taiwan Glass (1801-TW), Fu Qiao (1815-TW), etc., have products have been certified, Fu Qiao general manager pointed out that Fu Qiao 5G application glass fiber cloth own technology development smoothly, will continue to extend from the server, network communication to the full range to include wearable devices, handheld devices and base stations.

In addition, regarding the millimeter wave of smart phones, millimeter wave LCP (liquid crystal polymer) soft board antenna material used to be dominated by Japan’s Murata Manufacturing and U.S. DuPont, but the recent cooperation efforts of Taiwan’s soft board factories and FCCL factories are expected to gain a breakthrough and replace the transitional nature of heterogeneous-PI (M-Pi) products.

As for the higher value-added, better physical products fluorinated antenna soft board products, there is no good news out of the development of Taiwanese companies.

On the current Taiwan PCB industry chain, Taiwan’s single, double-sided development of high-level digital board, HDI PCB, IC carrier board, production technology is mature, yield is also high, but most of the upstream materials for high-end products so far by the United States, Japan and even South Korea mastered, such as the current market focus on the ABF, BT carrier board industry, the upstream materials are still in the hands of Japan Ajinomoto, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical


IC packaging technology continues to advance

The current advancement in IC packaging technology has also created market demand for IC carrier boards, and the industry has received orders until 2027. The demand for IC carrier boards is good, and the future production capacity of carrier boards will multiply on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, but the upstream material sources are mostly held by Japanese companies, so Taiwan CCL factories are actively upgrading their products in addition to expanding their existing production capacity.

Taiwan CCL plant also continue to expand production scale on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, this year and next year, new production capacity has been opened, competition has also expanded to IC carrier board materials, including Taiwan photoelectricity in Taoyuan to purchase land to expand the fastest pace, Lianmao also followed closely behind, recently and Japan’s Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC) to further expand cooperation, the main business of the two sides will develop their own semiconductor packaging substrate with laminate materials manufacturing and sales, market estimates, the Lian Mao and the Japanese side will have greater cooperation in the future, and will also establish a new factory in Taiwan.



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