FPC has the incomparable advantages of other types of circuit boards such as high wiring density, light weight, thin thickness, foldable bending, three-dimensional wiring, and safety, and is more in line with the development trend of intelligent and integrated electronic products in downstream industries. With the development of science and technology, FPC will usher in three major market opportunities.
FPCs are ushering in development as new energy vehicles develops
On the one hand, with the development of automobiles towards electrification and intelligence, the proportion of automotive electronics in the cost of complete vehicles is gradually increasing. According to iFixit data, it is expected that the number of FPCs for new energy vehicles will exceed 100 pieces, of which the number of FPCs for battery voltage monitoring can be as high as 70 pieces.
On the other hand, the power batteries of early new energy vehicles are mainly based on traditional wiring harnesses, which are relatively bulky and have complicated connection methods and cannot comply with the development trend of the continuous increase in the number of electronic components in new energy vehicles. The automotive FPC has been widely used in new energy vehicles due to its advantages of light weight, simple structure, and convenient line connection. At present, the FPC connection has become the main scheme in the power battery of new energy vehicles, and is developing towards the integration of CC (Cells Contact System).
CCS is composed of FPC, plastic structural parts, copper and aluminum bars, etc. FPC is connected with copper and aluminum bars and plastic structural parts to form electrical connection and signal detection structural parts. It has stronger customization properties and is easier to install. It can be placed directly in the battery pack. In terms of technology, it is more suitable for automatic production of power batteries.
It is estimated that the global power battery FPC+CCS market space will be 5.67 billion RMB in 2021, and will reach 39.37 billion RMB by 2025, with a compound growth rate of 62.33% from 2021 to 2025. In addition, FPC’s replacement of traditional wiring harnesses in batteries is expected to further extend to the field of energy storage, further promoting the development of FPC market demand.
Smartphone function innovation brings incremental demand for FPC
With the innovation and development of smartphones, the addition of functions and configurations such as OLED screens, facial recognition, multi-cameras, and wireless charging, and the iteration of technologies, the demand for FPCs that are thin, small, and high-density wires is increasing.
Taking the iPhone as an example, according to the report data, the FPC used in the iPhone 7 launched in 2016 was 14-16 pieces, while the FPC used in the iPhone 12 launched in 2020 reached 30 pieces. The innovation of mobile phone functions has driven the rapid increase of FPC usage, and the demand for more refined FPC products has increased. During this process, the leading FPC manufacturers in the industry are actively investing in capital, and the market competitiveness is rapidly improving, which is expected to gain more market share.
The rapid development of emerging markets has led to further development of FPC demand
In recent years, the demand for emerging markets such as wearable devices and XR has grown rapidly, which has led to further growth in FPC market demand. In the field of wearable devices, due to higher requirements on product weight and more functional requirements, more components are carried. As wearable devices integrate more and more functions, the line density requirements will further increase, and the proportion of stand-alone FPC will increase.
According to related research data, from 2021 to 2026, the global smart watch market will grow from US$27.4 billion to US$57.4 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 15.9%. In the field of XR, with the continuous advancement of chips, display technology, and communication methods, as well as the catalysis of the Metaverse, the XR industry has entered a period of rapid growth. According to data from market research firm Counter Point, global XR shipments will grow from 11 million units in 2021 to 105 million units in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 75.8%.