An Overview of Automotive PCB Industry

An Overview of Automotive PCB Industry

Printed circuit board (PCB) refers to a printed board that forms point-to-point connections and printed components on a general-purpose substrate according to a predetermined design. Its main function is to make various electronic components form a predetermined circuit connection. 

Automotive PCB is the support of electronic components and the connection provider between electronic components and electricity. It is the infrastructure of almost all electronic products. In addition to the basic function of fixing various small electronic components, its main function is to provide the interconnection of the above-mentioned electronic components.

As electronic devices become more and more complex, more and more accessories are required, resulting in denser and denser circuits and accessories on the PCB. From the perspective of the automotive PCB industry chain, upstream raw materials include copper foil, epoxy resin, glass fiber cloth, copper balls, gold salt ink, prepreg, wood pulp paper, etc., of which copper foil, resin and glass fiber cloth are the three main raw materials. 

Midstream substrates mainly refer to copper-clad laminates (CCL), which are made of raw materials such as copper foil, epoxy resin, and glass fiber cloth, mainly including paper-based copper-clad laminates, special material-based copper-clad laminates, glass fiber cloth-based copper-clad laminates and composite-based copper clad laminate; the downstream is the application field of automotive PCBs.

Table of Contents

Upstream Analysis

Copper is the raw material for making copper foil. China is not only a major producer of electrolytic copper, but also a major consumer. The demand for electrolytic copper in China accounts for more than 50% of global demand. Based on China ‘s huge demand, the output of electrolytic copper in China is increasing year by year, from 9.029 million tons in 2018 to 11.065 million tons in 2022.

PCB copper foil
PCB copper foil

PCB copper foil is a thin layer of copper foil deposited on the base layer of a circuit board. It is an important raw material for CCL and PCB manufacturing and acts as a conductor. Thanks to the steady growth of China’s PCB industry, China’s PCB copper foil production has been growing steadily, and the annual growth rate is greater than the global growth rate. In 2022, China’s PCB copper foil output reached 339,000 tons.

Resin is also an important raw material for manufacturing automotive PCBs. Judging from the production of synthetic resins in China in recent years, it has shown a continuous upward trend. In 2022, China’s synthetic resin output was 113.669 million tons.

Ink is one of the important upstream raw materials for automotive PCB. In recent years, Chinese ink companies have continuously expanded their supply capacity and increased research and development efforts, and the industry’s output has shown an upward trend. In 2022, China’s ink production reached 880,000 tons.

Midstream Analysis

automotive PCB market
automotive PCB market

The global automotive PCB market continues to grow, and the market size will increase from US$7.81 billion in 2020 to US$12.48 billion in 2028. The Asia Pacific region is the largest market and the fastest growing market. In terms of regions, the automotive PCB market in the Asia-Pacific region ranks first in the world, accounting for 38% of the global market share.

Downstream Analysis

The prosperity of the automotive electronics industry determines the development level of the automotive PCB industry. With the continuous advancement of automobile intelligence and electrification, the market scale of China’s automotive electronics industry continues to expand. In 2022, the market size of China’s automotive electronics industry reached US$118.1 billion.

automotive electronics
automotive electronics

The final application scenario of automotive PCB is the automotive industry. Judging from China ‘s auto sales in recent years, China ‘s auto production and sales resumed growth in 2021. In 2022, China ‘s auto production and sales reached 27.021 million and 26.864 million, an increase of 3.4% and 2.1% respectively. In the first quarter of 2023, China’s auto production was 6.210 million vehicles and sales was 6.076 million vehicles.

Compared with fuel vehicles, new energy vehicles have more electronic equipment, so there is a greater demand for automotive PCBs. In recent years, China has continuously introduced favorable policies to support the new energy industry, and the new energy automobile industry has also developed rapidly.

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