The annual revenue from the global IC testing and packaging industry for 2017 is estimated to grow by 2.2% to reach US$51.73 billion, according to the latest research from TrendForce. Furthermore, providers of outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) are projected to represent a share of 52.5% in the year’s total revenue.
The IC testing and packaging industry is expected to register recovery and growth in 2017 in contrast to the 2016 revenue result that showed a slight annual decline. This year, the main revenue driver has been the increase in the amount of IC components demanded for mobile devices. The strong demand for IC components has also expanded the deployment of advanced packaging solutions that offer higher levels of integration and higher numbers of I/O connections. In sum, the rising quantity and quality of demand during this year has benefited the IC testing and packaging industry revenue-wise.
The projected revenue ranking of the top 10 OSAT providers for 2017 is overall similar to the 2016 ranking. This year’s top three in sequence are ASE, Amkor and JCET. Among the top 10, PTI has gained enormously from the memory boom caused by the combination of tight market supply, application growth for high-performance computing and strong demand for high-density storage products. PTI also has the advantage of having a strong relationship with the memory giant Micron. TrendForce estimates that PTI’s annual revenue growth for this year will reach an impressive 26.3%, putting the company in the fifth place of the ranking.
China’s IC backend service providers are focusing on developing their technologies as their progress in overseas mergers and acquisitions slows
TrendForce’s survey of the testing and packaging industry in 2017 also finds that there are now much fewer M&A targets for Chinese companies because of the increasing level of competition and consolidation activities in the global semiconductor sector. Furthermore, the barriers against Chinese companies for making overseas acquisitions using domestic capital have also been raised. Thus, Chinese IC backend service providers are shifting their focus away from trying to get technologies and market shares via overseas M&As. Instead, they are investing their resources in developing technologies related to fan-out processing and system-in-package (SiP) integration. They eventually want to get their solutions verified by potential clients, proving that they have the in-house expertise to be competitive in the market.
Chinese testing and packaging companies continue to gain processing capacity for packaging technologies that are high-end (e.g. flip chip and bumping) and more advanced (e.g. fan-in, fan-out, 2.5D interposer and SiP). Because of the progress in both technology development and M&As, Chinese service providers such as JCET, TSHT and TFME are projected to rise above the industry’s average in their revenue performances this year with double-digit growth rates.
Additionally, China’s IC testing and packaging industry will be supported by the growing number of domestic fabs in the coming year. TrendForce forecasts that China’s monthly 12-inch wafer capacity will increase by about 162,000 pieces before the end of 2018. This 180% increase from the current capacity level will give a sizable injection of demand into the domestic testing and packaging market.