Revenues of the top 10 largest packaging/testing (OSAT, outsourced semiconductor assembly and test) companies reached US$7.17 billion in 1Q21, a 21.5% increase YoY, with most of these companies recording double-digit growths, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. This bullish performance is primarily attributed to the fact that the post-pandemic new normal, which entails such activities as WFH and distance education, adopted by the general public had become commonplace, as well as the fact that vaccinations in Europe and North America began to somewhat abate the intensity of the pandemic in those areas, with cities successively terminating lockdown measures. Furthermore, demand for IT products, TVs, 5G devices, and automotive electronics persisted given the impending Tokyo Olympics. Finally, end-device manufacturers had been aggressively procuring components since 2H20, in turn leading to a tight production capacity for actors across the semiconductor supply chain. Hence, OSAT companies gradually increased their prices in response to strong demand from clients. Taken together, these aforementioned factors propelled the overall revenue performances from the OSAT industry in 1Q21.
TrendForce indicates that clients in the end device markets are now worried that they may have to contend with last year’s chip shortage once again. In addition, skyrocketing shipping costs and lead times have led these clients to consider overbooking their orders. However, certain countries have been experiencing a slight slowdown in the pandemic’s spread after starting their vaccination drives, and governments in these countries have begun to gradually call off lockdown measures, thereby returning the state of work and study to pre-pandemic situations. In light of these developments, TrendForce expects demand for end devices to be met ahead of time and potentially undergo a decline in 3Q21. Clients in the end device markets are then expected to either slow their procurement activities or cut their chip orders, and revenues of OSAT companies may be negatively impacted as a result.
Industry leaders ASE and Amkor posted revenues of $1.69 billion and $1.33 billion, which are YoY increases of 24.6% and 15.0%, respectively, in 1Q21. ASE gradually strengthened and increased the supply of its wire bonding services for chips used in notebook computers, telecom devices, and servers. The company has been well prepared in terms of both mature and advanced chip packaging capacities. On the other hand, Amkor, which took second place in the top 10, was primarily focused on developing its advanced packaging competencies and aggressively expanding its presence in the advanced packaging market for 5G, automotive, and notebook chips.
In comparison, SPIL and PTI recorded relatively slow revenue growths, mainly because their clients in 3Q20 were unable to immediately make up for the gap left by Huawei after it was added to the Entity List, and because clients in the memory industry had been adjusting their inventories during this period. SPIL and PTI each recorded revenues of about $860 million and $650 million, which are YoY increases of 6.4% and 3.5%, respectively. On the other hand, KYEC’s revenue for 1Q21 reached $270 million, a 15.2% increase YoY. As KYEC gradually recovered from the impact of US sanctions against Huawei, the company’s revenue also remained in an upward trajectory.
With regards to the three Chinese heavyweights JCET, TFME, and Hua Tian, ongoing tensions between China and the US led the Chinese government to focus on cultivating the domestic manufacturing of semiconductors, such as automotive chips, memory products, 5G base station components, and panel driver ICs, all of which posed enormous demand for OSAT services. As such, JCET and TFME grew their revenues by 26.3% YoY and 62.0% YoY to about $1.03 billion and $503 million, respectively, while Hua Tian also registered a revenue of $400 million for the quarter and delivered the highest growth among the top 10 at 64.9% YoY.
Chipbond, an OSAT company specializing in panel driver ICs, benefitted greatly from the surge in demand for large-sized panels (for TVs and IT products) and medium- and small-sized panels (for tablets and automotive displays), which generated high demand for COF (chip on film) packaging technology. Alternatively, ChipMOS was able to capitalize on the recovering DRAM and NAND Flash demand. Both Chipbond and ChipMOS posted a revenue of about $230, which is a 22.3% increase YoY for the former and a 27.3% increase YoY for the latter.
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