FPC will usher in new growth momentum in 2023
Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC for short) is a highly reliable and excellent flexible printed circuit board made of polyimide or polyester film as the base material. It has the characteristics of high wiring density, light weight, thin thickness and good bendability.
Industry data shows that since 2009, the compound growth rate of FPC output value has been higher than that of the PCB industry. At present, the global output value of FPC accounts for about one-fifth of the output value of PCB. According to Prismark’s data, the FPC global market is expected to reach US$15.4 billion in 2025, with a compound growth rate of 4.2% from 2020 to 2025, and the industry has sufficient capacity. In 2023, FPC will also usher new growth momentum.
Demand for mobile phones gradually picks up
In 2022, mobile phone shipments are expected to decline by 8.1% year-on-year due to the impact of global inflation and geopolitical conflicts. With overseas inflation under control, consumer confidence is expected to pick up, and demand for mobile phones is also expected to gradually pick up. In 2023, shipments increased by about 2.4% year-on-year.
On the other hand, with the explosive growth of the folding device market, the demand for FPC will be further driven in the future. According to CINNO Research, global shipments of folding screen mobile phones reached 5.51 million units in 2021, and are expected to rise to 52 million units in 2025. According to IHS, PCB costs have increased by 14% to meet folding requirements.
The trend of three modernizations of automobiles will bring about an increase in the use of FPC
According to Zhanxin PCB Industry Research Institute, the amount of FPC used in a single vehicle ranges from 40-100 pieces, and the demand for FPC in smart cars in the future can reach 5-8 times that of traditional cars.
On the one hand, the trend of power battery FPC replacing copper wire harness is clear. Compared with copper wire harnesses, FPC has outstanding advantages in terms of safety, light weight, and regular layout due to its high integration, ultra-thin thickness, and ultra-softness.
In addition, the shape of FPC is regular, suitable for large-scale mass production, and the process is also flexible.
At present, mainstream manufacturers of power batteries in China have applied FPC in batches in the battery pack link.On the other hand, the automotive electronics market space continues to grow. According to Gartner data, the value of single-vehicle chips is expected to increase from US$665 in 2021 to US$931 in 2025, and reach US$1,441 in 2031. The increase in the value of bicycle chips also means that the amount of FPC is expected to increase simultaneously.
Wearable market boosts FPC demand
According to IDC’s forecast, the global market size of wearable devices is about US$578 million in 2021, and it is expected to reach US$1.968 billion in 2026, with a CAGR of 27.77%.
Among them, ARVR equipment will grow the most rapidly. At present, ARVR equipment from ordinary models to mid-to-high-end models uses 10 to 20 FPCs for a single machine. In the future, as the product is further iteratively upgraded and the number of sensors increases, the performance and weight control will be stricter. The circuit is more complex, and the amount of FPC will continue to increase.
FPC flexible circuit board has no rib material, can be bent, light in weight, and thin in thickness. The use of flexible lines reduces the number of electronic packaging and interconnection points, reduces the probability of electronic failure, and has strong stability, so it is very suitable for wearable devices.
On the whole, FPC is widely used in consumer electronics fields such as smartphones, tablet computers, and wearable devices, as well as automotive electronics, communications, and other fields. In the future, with the gradual commercialization of humanoid robots, FPC will usher in a new incremental market.