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28 The PCB Magazine • December 2014 Currently, China's PCB growth opportuni- ties are still primarily centered on handheld mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearable electronics, etc. Most of these end products are being manufactured and assem- bled in Asia, particularly China and some parts of Southeast Asia. This kind of PCB application is classified as small and thin PCBs, which were largely produced by Japan's manufacturers in the last decade. Due to the heavy CAPEX in- volved, capacities for technologies such as HDI, flex and flex assembly, and rigid-flex are being set up mainly by major players. U.S. and European PCB makers formerly dominated the large PCB market consisting of backplanes and large form-factor, high layer- count PCBs. However, globalization and cost- saving initiatives are driving the big and thick boards into China, even though the end-prod- ucts are assembled globally. With continuous investments, and developments being made in the right technology, improved capabilities in China can better support this outsourcing trend—a trend that is expected to continue and become even more prevalent into the future. As technology gaps narrow between the East and West, China's players will also be able to pen- etrate into even higher value-added and more difficult-to-build PCBs, which in turns means there will be very keen competition in this mar- ket segment. China's Future As long as OEMs, ODMs and EMS provid- ers are still manufacturing cell phones, tablets, wearable and health electronics, computers, notebooks, storage peripherals and consumer products in China, PCBs production will con- tinue on a growing trend. This is especially likely because China is such a huge market, as well as being suitably supplemented by a well- established PCB supply chain. So, what is in store for China's PCB mar- ket? Opportunities will likely continue to be in the end-markets for handheld mobile devic- es, which ultimately translates to continuous growth in microvia HDI, flex PCBs and rigid- flex. This trend, along with the IoT, will also fur- ther encourage the growth of better networks, higher bandwidth and speed, and large form factors, as well as the creation of a world of con- nections (i.e., connected cars and homes, etc.). All of this only means that there will be an in- creasing need for electronics in homes, offices and even automobiles. Continuous outsourcing CHINA MARkET OUTLOOk FOR 2015 continues Figure 1.

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