Under the overall trend of the global printed circuit board (PCB) industry shifting to Asia, China, as a major manufacturer of electronic products, has attracted a large number of foreign and local PCB companies to invest with its huge domestic demand market and relatively low production costs. China’s PCB industry has shown explosive growth in just a few years.
In the future, China’s PCB industry will continue to benefit from the development of information technology, as well as the growing demand for electronic products. With the continuous introduction of new generations of electronic products, the market size of the printed circuit board industry will continue to expand.
2023 PCB Industry Status
Printed circuit board (PCB) is an indispensable component in electronic products. With the continuous improvement of technology, its demand is stable and will continue to grow. PCB, known as the “mother of electronic products”, is a key interconnect for assembling electronic parts and plays a vital role in most electronic devices and products. The downstream of PCB mainly corresponds to terminal application products, which are mainly used in computer, communication, consumer electronics, automotive electronics, industrial control medical, military aerospace and other fields. It is an indispensable component of electronic terminal equipment.
The PCB industry is a highly competitive industry that is rapidly expanding in size. In recent years, with the development of information technology, the demand for electronic products is also increasing, which provides great opportunities and potential for the PCB industry.
The new energy vehicle track is becoming a track for PCB companies to compete. Automotive PCBs are used in control systems, audio-visual systems, GPS modules, etc. With the continuous improvement of automotive electronics, the demand for automotive PCB applications will continue to increase.
As the largest producer of the global PCB industry, China’s share of the total output value of the global PCB industry has risen from 8% in 2000 to 54% in 2019, with a compound growth rate of 12.80%. Despite the poor competitive landscape of local PCB companies, under the ultra-high-speed penetration of new energy vehicles into traditional fuel vehicles, automotive electronics, one of the three downstream applications of PCBs, is expected to drive the expansion of the PCB market.
At present, among new energy vehicles, the automotive electronics value of hybrid vehicles and pure electric vehicles account for 47% and 65% respectively. As the proportion of automotive electronics in the cost of a complete vehicle continues to increase, the demand for automotive PCBs has also increased.
At present, China has become the world’s largest PCB producer, and it is also one of the regions in the world that can provide the largest PCB production capacity and the most complete product types. On the whole, although there are a large number of local PCB companies, there is still a certain gap between their scale and technical level compared with foreign-funded companies that have set up branch factories in mainland China, and their competitiveness is slightly weak.
Now there are about 2,800 PCB companies in the world, mainly concentrated in six regions including mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Europe. In 2016, the market shares of Taiwan-funded, Japanese-funded, Korean-funded and mainland-funded enterprises in the global PCB market were 30.2%, 21.6%, 17.6% and 16.8%, respectively.
From the perspective of industry scale, China’s Shennan Circuits and Wus Printed Circuit have occupied an important position in the supply system of equipment manufacturers such as Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, Samsung, and Ericsson. With the opening of 5G commercial use, the two are expected to be the first to benefit, and China’s share is expected to reach 30% or higher, respectively.
PCB Market Development Prospects
In the future, the trend of transferring the PCB industry to China will continue. It is estimated that the output value of China’s PCB industry will reach 46.04 billion US dollars in 2025, accounting for more than half of the global output value. In the next five years, Asia will continue to dominate the development of the global PCB market, and China’s core position will be more stable.
The PCB industry in mainland China is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3%, and the total output value will reach 54.605 billion US dollars by 2026. Driven by the growth of the high-end packaging substrate market, the compound annual growth rate of PCB output value in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea will remain at a relatively high level.
High density is an important direction for the development of printed circuit board technology in the future, and higher requirements are put forward for the size of the circuit board aperture, wiring width, and number of layer. High-density interconnect technology (HDI) is a kind of advanced PCB technology. By accurately setting blind and buried holes, the number of through holes can be reduced, the PCB routing area can be saved, and the density of components can be greatly increased.
Therefore, downstream industries put forward higher requirements for the reliability and stability of PCB products, and at the same time, the application proportion of HDI PCB with higher density in future electronic products will gradually expand.