Chinese Manufacturers Diversify Business Streams amidst COVID-19 Era and U.S. Trade War

Diversifying supply chains has become one of the key strategies for reviving the global economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has had only a minor impact on the semiconductor industry, with more than 50% of the companies in the Epi wafer market expected to meet their manufacturing output goals. However, common concerns such as employee safety, volatile demand and supply, and shipping need to be addressed in order to achieve business recovery post the COVID-19 era.

Companies in the Epi wafer market are expecting re-establishment of supply chains in full capacity in the first quarter of 2021. The ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. has compelled Chinese manufacturers to pan toward Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam to circumvent tariffs. As such, travel restrictions and factory closures have resulted in labor shortage.

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Additive Processes Help Overcome Challenges in Micro PCB Designs

The Epi wafer market is estimated to cross a value of US$ 5.8 Bn by the end of 2030. However, micro PCB (Printed Circuit Board) challenges associated with tight space constraints result in signal loss for devices, thus inhibiting market growth. Hence, companies in the Epi wafer market are increasing their R&D capabilities in additive processes to make improvements in microelectronic designs.

The burgeoning growth of the 5G, sensors, and RF (Radio Frequency) technology sectors has been translating into value-grab opportunities for Epi wafer manufacturers. France-based company Soitec— a specialist in generating and manufacturing high performance semiconductor materials, is capitalizing growth opportunities in the 5G sector by increasing its production capacities for gallium nitride (GaN) Epi wafers. Next-gen GaN Epi wafers are deploying innovations at device level to meet the demanding applications in cellular networks as well as the consumer power supplies segment.

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GaN or GaAs: Which is Better for LED Devices?

Apart from microelectronics, manufacturers in the Epi wafer market are tapping into incremental opportunities in the optoelectronics sector. Innovative LED (Light Emitting Diode) devices and VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) products are helping the global Epi wafer market to mature at a favorable CAGR of ~6% during the forecast period. Disruptive non-silicon-based More than Moore devices are helping manufacturers gain competitive in the market landscape.

The market for Epi wafers is transitioning from GaN materials to GaAs (Gallium Arsenide) substrates in the LED devices domain. As such, GaN materials dictate the lion’s share of most LED devices. Manufacturers are diverting toward bespoke UV and IR (Infra-Red) LEDs with the help of GaAs substrates. They are increasing their output capabilities for consumer displays, miniLEDs, and microLEDs. For instance, Apple is anticipated to take the forefront in miroLED application with its awaited high-end 2021 smartwatch model.

Military-funded Research Initiatives Grab Attention of Epi Wafer Manufacturers

Strategic partnership between the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Arms Company— a provider of chips and device architectures, has become an important reference point for Epi wafer manufacturers, owing to the agreement’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative. Companies in the Epi wafer market are expanding their business in the military and defense sector, since military organizations are funding research projects that involve semicon companies. This trend is prominent in the microelectronics sector where Epi wafer manufacturers are also receiving financial incentives.

Companies in the Epi wafer market are seeking military academy think tanks that help to steer innovations in UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and robots. These vehicles and robots play a pivotal role in offensive and defensive tactics during conflicts. As such, semicon companies are increasing their production capabilities in wireless devices for defense applications. Since the spectral environment is highly dynamic, manufacturers are addressing the challenges to optimize radiofrequency signal flows.

U.K. Optical Communications Technology Industry Holds Lucrative Revenue Opportunities

Investments in R&D and innovations have become an important prerequisite for companies in the Epi wafer market. For instance, HiSilicon— a Chinese fabless semiconductor company based in Shenzhen, is offering its 25G colored optical modules to scale its business in optoelectronics. On the other hand, manufacturers in the Epi wafer market are increasing efforts to meet demands in 5G wireless communications, owing to the availability of enhanced mobile broadband and massive machine type communication (mMTC).

Optoelectronics has become one of the key technologies for fiber optic communication systems. Hence, Huawei— a leading telecommunications equipment company, has announced to build an optoelectronics R&D site in Cambridge, U.K., to scale its business in consumer devices. Telecom companies are collaborating with research institutes to support the U.K.’s optical communications technology industry.

InP and InAs Materials Aid in Development of High Performance Optoelectronic Devices

The growing startup culture is bolstering the growth of the Epi wafer market. Apart from GaN and GaAs, startups are utilizing indium phosphide (InP) and indium arsenide (InAs) materials to develop high performance optoelectronic devices. For instance, the U.S.-based startup Duet Microelectronics is harnessing the advantages of InP and InAs such as high electron mobility and low exciton binding energy to develop high performance optoelectronic devices. Increasing number of startups is developing microelectronics solutions for telecom companies to optimize 5G wireless technologies.

Microelectronics startups are scaling their business in III-V semiconductors and its related process technologies to innovate in next-gen devices. The III-V semiconductors are being highly publicized for reducing costs for telecom network operators. The concept of microelectronics failure analytics is gaining popularity in the market landscape. Micro-imaging instruments are being used to analyze potential failures in microelectronics.

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

Agile supply node networks with a regional-based approach help revive market growth amidst the coronavirus era. Emerging technologies in 5G, high performance computing, IoT (Internet of Things), and artificial intelligence are expected contributors to the overall recovery in the technology sector. Although microelectronics-based applications are acquiring prominence in the Epi wafer market, it has become customary for manufacturers to address the causes of failures in microelectronic chips and systems. Hence, companies should dive deep into microelectronics failure analytics to optimize technologies in photovoltaic equipment. As such, microelectronic devices are gaining popularity in military, aerospace, and medical applications. Electronic ignition and control systems in automobiles are also contributing toward market growth.

Epi wafer Market: Overview

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest research report on the global Epi wafer market for the historical period 2017–2018 and the forecast period 2020–2030, maintenance-free design offering longer service life and integration of advanced technologies are factors expected to boost the global Epi wafer market during the forecast period
  • In terms of revenue, the global Epi wafer market is estimated to cross value of US$ 5.8 Bn by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of ~6% during the forecast period

Rising Demand for Epi Wafers in Consumer Electronics Devices: A Key Driver

  • Epi wafers are extensively used in consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, smart watches, tablets, and smart TVs to enhance their performance and accuracy
  • Continuous development in wafer size leads to the development of consumer electronic products enabled with infrared detector and sensors to operate devices conveniently
  • As the need for IR applications grows, manufacturers have begun to utilize appropriate IR materials in the design of plano-optics as per the requirement of applications
  • Furthermore, demand for IR detectors is increasing with growing safety and security concerns in hotels, hospitals, offices, and airports, among others, which is anticipated to surge the demand for Epi wafers
  • Thus, increase in adoption of consumer electronic devices is expected to drive the expansion of the global Epi wafer market during the forecast period

Increase in Adoption of Epi Wafers in RF Devices: A Key Driver

  • In the telecommunications industry, high frequency signals are required for transmission of signals over long distance with minimum loss of signal strength
  • RF devices such as Wi-Fi wireless Internet devices, Zigbee wireless devices, cordless telephones, and other devices are significantly used in offices, and commercial and residential places
  • Use of silicon wafers in RF devices is ideal, as they are capable of lowering the coupling between devices and provide low-loss substrates for high-speed and system integration
  • Thus, increasing demand for RF devices in the global telecommunications sector is projected to have a positive impact on the global Epi wafer market during the forecast period

Limitation of Above 200mm Wafer Size up to 200 mm size, Hindering Growth of Epi Wafer Market

  • High resistivity silicon substrate is important to improve signal isolation and minimize substrate cross-talk in radio frequency
  • Availability of large diameter size is helpful to manufacture large amounts of semiconductor and power devices at low manufacturing cost
  • In Epi wafers, float zone (Above 200mm) silicon wafers are generally not greater than 200mm (8”) due to the surface tension limitations during growth and thus not suitable for modern CMOS processing where the standard wafer diameter is 12’’
  • However, this limitation is expected to be resolved with continuous technological advancement, which will help to produce power devices and detector/sensor products at lower cost
  • Thus, this factor is projected to have a moderately negative impact on the global Epi wafer market during the forecast period

Epi Wafer Market: Competition Landscape

  • Detailed profiles of providers of Epi wafers have been provided in the report to evaluate their financials, key product offerings, recent developments, and strategies
  • Key players operating in the global Epi wafer market are
    • Desert Silicon Inc.
    • Electronics and Materials Corporation Ltd.
    • EpiWorks Inc.
    • Global Wafers Japan Co. Ltd.
    • Intelligent Epitaxy Technology Inc.
    • IQE PLC
    • Jenoptic AG
    • MOSPEC Semiconductor Corporation
    • Nichia Corporation
    • SHOWA DENKO K.K.
    • Siltronic AG
    •  Visual Photonics Epitaxy Co. Ltd.

Epi Wafer Market: Key Developments

  • Key providers of Epi wafers, such as GlobalWafers Co., Ltd., Sil’tronix ST, Siltronic AG, Okmetic, and SOITEC are focusing on mergers and acquisitions with Epi wafers providing companies (manufacturers) so as to attract more customers. Some other key developments in the global Epi wafer market are highlighted below:
  • In August 2020, Intelligent Epitaxy Wafer Size Inc. announced a joint partnership between IVWorks Co., Ltd. (IVWorks) and Intelligent Epitaxy Wafer Size, Inc. (IntelliEPI) related to wafer size and business development for GaN epi materials based on molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) wafer size. The two companies have been collaborating closely on the development of production scale of GaN epi wafers by MBE since 2018. The framework of technical and marketing alliances was formalized in 2019.
  • In August 2016, GlobalWafers Co., Ltd. entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of SunEdison Semiconductor Company. The company was acquired by GlobalWafers Co., Ltd. for US$ 683 Mn.
    • In the global Epi wafer market report, we have discussed individual strategies, followed by company profiles of providers of Epi wafer systems. The ‘Competition Landscape’ section has been included in the report to provide readers with a dashboard view and company market share analysis of key players operating in the global Epi wafer market.

Epi Wafer Market – Scope of the Report

A new study on the global Epi wafer market is published by Transparency Market Research (TMR). It presents detailed information of key market dynamics, including drivers, trends, and challenges of the global Epi wafer market as well as its structure. TMR’s study offers valuable information on the global Epi wafer market in order to illustrate how the global market is expected to expand during the forecast period i.e. 2020–2030

Key indicators of market growth, which include value chain analysis and compound annual growth rate (CAGR), are elucidated in TMR’s study in a comprehensive manner. This data can help readers interpret the quantitative growth aspects of the global Epi wafer market.

An extensive analysis of business strategies adopted by leading market players is also featured in TMR’s study on the global Epi wafer market. This can help readers understand key factors responsible for growth of the global Epi wafer market. In this study, readers can also find specific data on avenues for qualitative and quantitative growth of the global Epi wafer market. This data would guide market players in making apt decisions in the near future.

Key Questions Answered in TMR’s Study on Epi Wafer Market

  • What would be the Y-o-Y growth trend of the global Epi wafer market between 2020 and 2030?
  • What is the influence of changing trends in technology on the global Epi wafer market?
  • Would North America continue to be the most dominant regional market for providers of Epi wafers over the next few years?
  • Which factors would hinder the global Epi wafer market during the forecast period?
  • Which are the leading companies operating in the global Epi wafer market?

Research Methodology

A unique research methodology is utilized by TMR to conduct comprehensive research on the global Epi wafer market and arrive at conclusions on future growth prospects for the market. This research methodology is a combination of primary and secondary research, which helps analysts warrant the accuracy and reliability of the conclusions drawn.

Secondary research sources referred to by analysts during production of the report on the global Epi wafer  market include statistics from company annual reports, SEC filings, company websites, World Bank database, investor presentations, regulatory databases, government publications, and market white papers. Analysts have also interviewed senior managers, product portfolio managers, CEOs, VPs, and market intelligence managers, who have contributed to the production of TMR’s study on the global Epi wafer market as a primary research source.

These primary and secondary sources provided exclusive information during interviews, which served as a validation from leading players operating in the global Epi wafer market. Access to an extensive internal repository as well as external proprietary databases allowed this report to address specific details and questions about the global Epi wafer market with accuracy. The study also uses a top-down approach to assess the numbers for each segment and a bottom-up approach to counter-validate them. This has helped in making TMR’s estimates on future prospects for the global Epi wafer market more reliable and accurate.

Epi Wafer Market – Segmentation

TMR’s study on the global Epi wafer market divides the market based on material, wafer size, application, and region. Changing market trends and other crucial market dynamics associated with segments of the global Epi wafer market have been discussed in detail in TMR’s study.

Material

  • Gallium
  • Arsenic
  • Gallium Nitride (GaN)
  • Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)
  • Indium Phosphide Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs)
  • Indium Phosphide (InP)
  • Others

Wafer Size

  • 50mm to 100mm
  • 100mm to 150mm
  • 150mm-200mm
  • Above 200mm

Application

  • Microelectronics
  • Optoelectronics
  • RF Microwave Applications
  • Others

Region

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • MEA
  • South America

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