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Market analysis of PCB industry in 2023 :CCL and IC packages substrates

Printed circuit boards (PCBs), known as the “mother of electronic products”, are bridges that carry electronic components and connect circuits, and provide assembly support and electrical connection functions for various electronic systems.

PCB can not only provide mechanical support for the fixation and assembly of various electronic components such as integrated circuits and semiconductor devices, but also complete the wiring and electronic connection or electrical insulation between various electronic components.

With the continuous pull of demand in the fields of communications, servers, data storage and new energy, further offsetting the impact of the decline in consumer electronics on the PCB industry, the global PCB industry will show a steady growth trend.

It is estimated that the global PCB market size will exceed $100 billion in 2026, with a CAGR of 4.77% from 2021 to 2026.

PCB industry overview

PCB industry overview
PCB boards can be divided into traditional PCB and high-level PCB according to technical indicators and application fields.

Traditional PCB is used in simple scenarios such as household appliances, remote controls, and industrial control.

High-level PCBs are mostly used in difficult smartphones, wearable devices, tablet computers, 5G communications, chip packaging and other fields.

Types of PCB products

According to the softness of the substrate material, PCB can be divided into rigid PCB, flexible PCB, rigid-flexPCB; There are also special IC carrier boards.

Rigid PCB: made of paper-based or glass cloth, prepregnated phenolic or epoxy resin, with a certain rigidity and not easy to bend, can provide support for electronic components. According to the different number of conductive graphic layers, it can be divided into single-layer PCB, double-sided PCB, and multi-layer PCB.

Flexible PCB: is made of polyimide or polyester film as the substrate with high reliability, excellent flexibility (flexible) printed circuit board, with high wiring density, light weight, thin thickness, good bending characteristics.

Rigid-flex PCB: the flexible board and the rigid board are laminated together, and the circuit communication between the rigid printed circuit board and the flexible printed circuit board is realized through the hole metallization process, the flexible part can be bent, and the rigid board part can carry heavy devices.

IC carrier board: also known as package carrier board or package substrate, used to carry IC, internal wiring to conduct the signal between the chip and the circuit board, in addition to the function of carrying, IC carrier board also has protection circuit, special line, design heat dissipation path, establish component modular standards and other additional functions.
Overview and types of PCB products

Overview of PCB products

At present, PCB products are gradually developing in the direction of thinness, high performance, high density, high frequency and high speed, and the proportion of packaging substrates, flexible PCB and HDI PCB is gradually rising, and the share of multilayer PCB and single/double PCB constantly decrease.

From the perspective of growth rate, package substrates and multilayer boards have the fastest year-on-year growth rates, 41.4% and 25.4%, respectively.

According to statistics, in 2021, multilayer boards accounted for as high as 38% of global PCB products, and the proportion of multilayer boards in the past 21 years has remained leading.

PCB industry chain

According to the data, the upstream of the PCB industry chain is the raw materials required for production, mainly copper clad laminates, copper balls, copper foils, gold salts, prepreg sheets (PP), inks, dry films and other materials; Downstream applications involve consumer electronics, automotive electronics, industrial control medical, communication electronics, computers, defense and aerospace and many other fields.

From the perspective of PCB cost composition, excluding manual manufacturing costs, the cost of direct materials accounts for about 48%, of which copper clad laminate materials account for about 30%, copper foil accounts for about 9%, phosphor copper balls account for about 6%, and ink is about 3%.

Copper clad laminate

Copper clad laminate
Copper clad laminate (CCL) is one of the core materials used for PCB manufacturing, which is made of wood pulp paper or glass fiber cloth and other reinforcing materials immersed in resin liquid and hot pressed with copper foil, which mainly plays the role of interconduction, insulation and support for PCB, and plays a decisive role in transmission speed, energy loss and characteristic impedance in PCB products.

The three main raw materials of copper clad laminate are copper foil, resin and glass fiber cloth, which are the main substrates for PCB conduction, insulation and support, accounting for 42%, 26% and 19% of the cost of copper clad laminate respectively.

The global copper clad laminate industry CR5 is 55%, and the industry concentration is high.

According to the data, Kingboard Laminate, Shengyi Technology and Nanya Plastics are the world’s top three copper clad laminate manufacturers, with market shares of 17% / 13% / 12% respectively. From the perspective of competitive landscape, the market competition pattern of the copper clad laminate industry is relatively concentrated, with CR 5 being 55%.

High-frequency and high-speed CCL

High-frequency and high-speed CCL
Driven by the demand for 5G, server and other fields, the demand for high-frequency and high-speed copper clad laminates has been released in recent years.

The operating frequency of high-frequency copper clad laminates is usually above 5GHz, which requires ultra-low loss characteristics, and high-speed copper clad laminates need to have high signal transmission, high characteristic impedance accuracy, low transmission signal dispersion, low loss and other performance indicators. Low dielectric constant (Dk) and low dielectric loss factor (Df) are the keys to achieving high frequency and high speed.

IC package substrate

IC package substrate
The key carrier in the packaging and testing of packaging substrates has become the largest raw material in the packaging material segment, accounting for more than 50% of the packaging material, and the global market size is close to ten billion US dollars. Its basic materials are divided into multilayer insulation film and BT resin.

The packaging substrate has certain similarities with the PCB in the manufacturing process, but because the package substrate size is smaller and the electrical structure is more complex, its manufacturing technology is much more difficult than that of the PCB.

The packaging process of semiconductors from wafer to product can be divided into three grades (L0, L1, L2, L3), of which the package substrate is mainly used in the primary packaging process.

PCB industry pattern

The PCB market size is growing steadily, and the industry concentration is low. In 2021, the global PCB company CR10 is only 36%, the industry concentration is low, and the market share of Avary Holding, which has the largest market share, is only 7%.

The global PCB industry will still show a growth trend in the future. In terms of regional growth rate, China will continue to maintain the industry’s leading manufacturing center position, but due to the product structure of China’s PCB industry and some production transfers, it is predicted that the compound growth rate of China’s PCB output value in 2021-2026 is about 4.6%, slightly lower than the world.

It is estimated that by 2026, China’s PCB output value will reach 54.605 billion US dollars, and the output growth rate of Asian countries and regions, including China and Japan, is significantly higher than that of the Americas and Europe.

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