Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 market value of ‘fan-in’ WLCSP close to $1.7 billion

LYON, FRANCE: Yole Développement announced its report “WLCSP Market & Industrial Trends”. High growth rate, different technologies – thus different players – are the main trends identified by Yole Développement.

Growth rate is high, but the market shows early signs of maturity
Many “WLP” technologies are now cruising at a very high altitude. This is serious business: over 23 billion units packaged with ‘fan-in’ as we may call it are expected to sell and be mounted in smartphones, tablet PCs or other mobile devices in 2011.

Size reduction and cost, remain the main drivers for adoption of this technology. If ‘fan-in’ WLCSP already reached high penetration rates in mobile applications for connectivity (Bluetooth + WLAN + FM combos, GPS) and analog ICs (DC/DC converters, LDOs, ESD/EMI protection devices), it is still growing fast for some other IC types as well as in MEMS and sensors.

Reaching 2.3 million 300mm equivalent ‘fan-in’ WLCSP wafers in 2011 for a total market size of $1.7 billion
The average size of a ‘fan-in’ WLCSP device tended to increase over the past two years, with many “connectivity” devices reaching sizes of more than 30mm². “In 2011, more than 2.3 million 300mm equivalent ‘fan-in’ WLCSP wafers will be processed for the first time,” estimates Jean-Marc Yannou, senior analyst, Advanced Packaging at Yole Développement.

“All steps compounded (wafer level, die level and test), we estimate that the 2011 market value of ‘fan-in’ WLCSP is close to $ 1.7 billion.”

Prices keep on decreasing, but market growth rate expected to stay high at 12 percent over 2010-2016 time period
Although costs and prices are decreasing as the technology and its market mature, the market value growth rate for the 2010-2016 timeframe is still expected around 12 percent, 4 points higher than semiconductor packaging in general. However, this is lower than the 22 percent 2008-2013 growth rate Yole Développement had computed for the same market two years ago.

Costs kept on decreasing as the capacity shortage on 12-inch diameter wafers ended and process flows were standardized and simplified. While technologies have improved to the point that the maximum possible die size could be extended, it is not all clear skies for ‘fan-in’ WLCSP as the fallout of Nokia, WLCSP’s historical biggest supporter, on the handsets market continues, and some tier two handset manufacturers remain reluctant to adopt the technology.Source: Yole Développement, France.

Changing paradigms: future growth will be driven by different devices, based on different technologies
Looming over the horizon is the threat of the CMOS 28nm node technology with such a high IO density that some package with a “fan-out area” will be needed anyhow. Hopefully, a significant part of the ‘fan-in’ WLCSP market still relies on the analog ICs on the one hand, using older technologies, and on MEMS and sensors (particularly CMOS image sensors) on the other hand. This latter device type is expected to be a high potential growth application for fan-in WLCSP in the coming five years.

Yole Développement expects a tremendous growth of up to 25 percent for MEMS and sensors with WLCSP over the next five years. All in all, ‘fan-in’ WLCSP shows the first early signs of a maturing market with price pressure process standardization, but it still grows faster than the average semiconductor packaging market due to the fast growth rates of smartphones and tablet PCs in which WLCSP considerably helps save space and reduce costs.

High margins are attracting new player types with diverse business
The supply chain is still primarily led by OSATs and IDMs, but the original “Wafer bumping houses” and “wafer packaging houses” take a significant share of the market too. All the major OSATs invested in 300mm WLCSP capacity over the past two years. TSMC recently announced their intention to step in this market too, possibly opening the way to other foundries.

In this WLCSP 2011 report, you will find detailed technical and market status and forecasts on WLCSP technologies and applications. Market forecasts and growth rates are provided based on device units and wafers for each market segment over the 2010-2016 timeframe. Market value forecasts in dollars are given over the same period of time.

Based on Yole Développement’s “bottom-up” analysis of the WLP fabs, the report displays the list and ranking of the WLCSP front-end (RDL, UBM and balling) players as of end of 2010, including the detailed respective wafer production capacities by player and wafer type.

This “bottom-up meets top-down analysis” cross checks Yole Développement’s forecasting models application by application, and player by player, delivering a high definition picture of the status of the ‘fan-in’ WLCSP market, with, for example, the level of loading of the major WLCSP fabs by application and by design company.

Numerous application examples are given, recent technical developments on materials, architectures and test are detailed, and industry-wide technology roadmaps are presented. In addition, the report provides for the analysis of the supply chain and a detailed cost analysis section with models and examples.

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