Analysis of the global HDI board industry in 2022
Overview of HDI
With the development of electronic products in the direction of light, thin and short, high-density requirements are put forward for printed circuit boards. HDI (High Density Interconnect Board) can achieve smaller apertures, thinner line widths, and fewer vias, saving PCB routing area, greatly improving component density, improving RFI/EMI/ESD, etc.
From the pespective of production process, ordinary PCB adopts the subtractive method . On the basis of the subtractive method, HDI PCB reduces the minimum line width/line spacing to 40μm by laser drilling micro-vias and stacked vias. Due to the yield problem of the process below 30μm, the production process turned to MSAP and SAP.
The process involves more copper plating processes, the required copper plating capacity has increased significantly, and the demand for exposure equipment (the process is more complex) and lamination equipment (the number of product layers is increased) has also increased.
From the perspective of the specific production process, the consumption of processing capacity of high-end HDI products has increased significantly. The HDI order is determined by the number of repetitions of the secondary outer layer processing step in its production process .
Therefore, the production capacity of the second-order HDI board products of the same area is doubled compared with the first-order HDI board products in the process of pressing, copper reduction, laser and other processes that need to be used in the secondary outer layer processing. The production capacity is more than three times that of the first order.
PCB industry chain
HDI is the development of high-density PCB, and it is the highest level of ordinary PCBA production process. From the perspective of the PCB industry chain, the upstream includes raw materials such as copper clad laminates, resins, and dry films, the midstream is PCB manufacturing, and the downstream includes many application scenarios such as computers, automotive electronics, consumer electronics, and aerospace.
As the carrier of electronic components support and connection, in recent years, the global PCB output value has shown an overall growth trend. According to relevant statistics, the output value of the global PCB industry will reach US$80.9 billion in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 24.08%.
China , the PCB output value in mainland China will reach US$44.2 billion in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 25.93%, accounting for 54.64% of the global proportion, and the proportion of mainland China will continue to increase.
From the perspective of the subdivision structure of PCB products, at present, ordinary multi-layer boards occupy the mainstream position of PCB products . In 2021, the global PCB market will account for 38.6% of multi-layer boards, and 11.6% of single and double-sided boards; followed by packaging substrates, accounting for 17.6%; flexible boards and HDI boards account for 17.5% and 14.7%, respectively.
China , in 2021, multi-layer boards will account for 47.6%, and single-siede and double-sided boards will account for 15.5%; followed by HDI boards, accounting for 16.6%; flexible boards will account for 15%, and packaging substrates will account for a smaller proportion, accounting for 5.3%. %.
Compared with advanced PCB manufacturing countries such as Japan, the proportion of high-end printed circuit boards in China is still relatively low, especially in packaging substrates, high-end HDI boards, and high-level multi-layer boards.
Analysis of the current situation of HDI industry
From the perspective of industry output value, with the increase in the penetration rate of various wearable devices, smart head display devices, and vehicle-mounted HDI, the HDI market will continue to grow in the future. According to relevant statistics, the global HDI output value in 2021 will be 11.8 billion US dollars. It is expected that the HDI output value CAGR will be 4.9% from 2021 to 2026, and the global HDI output value will increase to 15 billion US dollars by 2026.
From the perspective of downstream applications, mobile terminals, computer PCs, other consumer electronics, and automobiles accounted for 58.1%, 14.5%, 11.7%, and 5.7% of the global HDI downstream applications in 2020, respectively. In 2022, shipments of mobile phones, which account for more than half of HDI downstream demand, will be weak.
Competitive landscape of HDI industry
From the perspective of the market competition pattern of the HDI industry, the global HDI manufacturing location and the distribution of the country of origin do not match . According to Prismark’s statistics, the production capacity of Hong Kong and mainland China accounted for 59% .
According to the attributes of the place of ownership, the production capacity in Hong Kong and mainland China only accounts for 17%. That is, most of the global HDI industry is controlled by manufacturers of Taiwan and other countries.
In terms of industry concentration, because HDI has the characteristics of heavier assets and higher technical requirements than ordinary multi-layer PCB, the industry concentration is correspondingly higher than that of multi-layer PCB industry, and HDICR5 is about 37%.
Manufacturers in mainland China that have the capacity to mass-produce HDI include DSBJ, Victory Macro, Ultrasonic Electronics, Bomin Electronics, KINWONG Electronics, etc. The overall scale is relatively small, mainly focusing on the production of low-end HDI, which can be improved greatly.
Judging from the production expansion of leading companies, the expansion of overseas companies and Taiwan-funded companies is concentrated in the field of carrier boards. In 2020-21, PCB head enterprises such as Unimicron Electronics and AT&S will increase their capital expenditures significantly, mainly investing in the expansion of IC substrate production capacity.
In contrast, HDI capacity expansion plans are limited. Despite the obvious tendency of global leading companies to switch to carrier boards, HDI, as the highest-end product of PCB subtractive process, still has its own advantages in terms of technology maturity and cost. Applications ensure that demand continues to increase . The processing capacity gap corresponding to the product order upgrade brings continuous opportunities to HDI manufacturers.
Future development trend of HDI industry
High-end and cutting-edge products are still concentrated in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Europe and the United States
Although China has developed into the world’s largest PCB market, the production capacity in mainland China is still dominated by low-tech, low-value-added products. According to Prismark statistics, in 2016, the output value of mainland China in the 4-layer board, 6-layer board and 8 to 16-layer board market accounted for 19.1%, 13.5% and 10.4% respectively.
The sales of IC carrier boards and high-rise boards with 18 layers and above accounted for a relatively small proportion, only 2.7% and 1.2% respectively. The market share of HDI board and flexible board is 16.5% and 17.1% respectively. At present, the survival of the fittest in mainland China is accelerating, and the PCB industry in mainland China will enter the process of upgrading.
High-end, cutting-edge products are still concentrated in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Europe and the United States. From the perspective of technical level, Japan is still the largest high-end PCB producer in the world, and its strengths include high-end HDI boards, packaging substrates, and high-level flexible boards. The United States still retains the research and development and production of high-complexity PCBs.
The products are mainly high-end multi-layer boards, which are mainly used in the military, aviation, communications and other fields in the United States . South Korea and Taiwan have also gradually joined the competition in the fields of high value-added packaging substrates and HDI boards.
Industry demand is forcing the rapid development of HDI
Electronic products such as smartphones, tablets and wearable devices are developing towards miniaturization, multi-function and long battery life. Taking Apple as an example, iPhone4S introduced Anylayer HDI for the first time, and iPhoneX introduced SLP for the first time. The stacked SLP technology makes the motherboard size of iPhoneX only 70% of that of iPhone8Plus .
After the communication technology was upgraded to 5G, the 5G models of Huawei, OPPO, and vivo adopted a large number of Anylayer HDI motherboards, and the HDI order of the motherboards of ordinary low-end models also increased. Smartphone motherboards have gone through the evolution from first-order HDI to high-order, arbitrary-order HDI, and then to SLP . Line width/line spacing continues to decrease, and component density continues to increase.
There is a wide space for automotive HDI products
With the development trend of intelligence, from the entertainment system in the car to ADAS assisted driving and automatic driving system, the configuration performance of the body domain controller has been improved, the number of high-speed computing chips carried in a limited volume has increased, and HDI has a large room for growth.
For example, Tesla’s ADAS controller uses 3-stage 8-layer HDI. In the future, the in-car motherboard is expected to repeat the path of upgrading from low-end to high-end HDI technology similar to that of mobile phone motherboards.