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GaAs Wafer Market & Applications

graph gaas market
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Yole GaAs Wafer Market 2012RF electronics currently fuels the GaAs wafer market… But LEDs will rapidly lead the growth GaAs.

GaAs wafer market should represent a business of $650M+ by 2017

After the large recovery growth from 2009, GaAs substrate market has slowed sharply in 2011 due to weak demand in RF circuits (handsets and WLANs) and in optoelectronics (LEDs and laser diodes).

From a growth rate of +22% achieved in 2010, the GaAs substrate market has only increased by +4% in 2011, reaching a value of nearly $360M.

However, the market is expected to recover in 2012, driven by:

  • The sheer volume of the handset market;
  • The consolidation of the LED industry (balance of capacity).

Hence, GaAs substrate market should reach a business of $650M+ by 2017 at a CAGR of nearly +11% (Figure 1), fuelled primarily by:

  • Increasing GaAs content in handsets;
  • Increasing penetration of LEDs in General Lighting and Automotive applications.


GaAs wafer market split by type of substrate

Initially, RF electronics (power amplifiers, switches…) represented the main market for GaAs wafer and will continue to feed the business for the next years with the development of sophisticated smartphones, the development of 3G/4G networks and the increased demand for data communication.

But recently, the development of new GaAs based devices is enlarging the market with associated high volume applications. LEDs represent such devices and are currently booming due to advantages offered over traditional light sources. Other devices such as solar cells for High Concentration PhotoVoltaïc (HCPV) will also add to the development of the GaAs substrate market, but to a lesser degree.

The report presents all applications of GaAs wafer and associated market metrics, detailing:

  • GaAs based devices, specific requirements (type of substrate, characteristics, performance), associated market drivers & challenges…
  • GaAs wafer market size (M$) & volume (Msi and wafer units) with split by type of substrate (SI GaAs vs. SC GaAs), split by wafer size, split by geography, split by application, revenues by actors, trends until 2017 (ASP, wafer size, volume & market size)…

Boosted by LEDs, SC GaAs substrate should lead growth of the GaAs for the next years

In 2011, the Semi-Insulating (SI) GaAs substrate market represented ~56% (M$) of the overall GaAs substrate market whereas Semi-Conductive (SC) GaAs counted for ~44% (M$). This trend is likely to reverse at short term as GaAs substrate demand for LEDs should rapidly surpass demand for RF electronics devices (Figure 1).

Figure1 market share

Globally, LED penetration rate is increasing in several applications such as TV, Signs & Displays (…). General Lighting is the next killer application for LEDs and should boost the SC GaAs substrate market by 2012-2013 if fundamental technology improvements are achieved to improve LED efficiency and increase the total amount of light generated per package. Moreover, the automotive industry is also shifting from the use of traditional light sources to LEDs for products such as headlamps and interior lights.

In that context, SC GaAs substrate volumes are likely to equal SI GaAs substrate volumes by 2013 due to steady growth of the RF electronics market compared to booming growth of optoelectronic market.

The 2011 Japan earthquake has shifted part of revenues of some Japanese players to their competitors

Figure2 GaAs wafer market

The 2011 earthquake/tsunami have damaged several Japanese manufacturing plants and strongly impacted production capacity of some key GaAs substrate suppliers who lost market shares to the profit of some competitors (Figure 2).

Whether these companies will invest to recover operations, reduce operations or exit the business is still unclear… But the GaAs wafer industry is evolving and some players have already announced plant expansion in order to gain market share and prepare future growth of the market. At this level, due to its lower labor cost, China seems the new “El Dorado” of GaAs wafer manufacturing: all expansions plans announced will be localized in the country.

The report details GaAs wafer industry, detailing: profile of main players & associated strategies, industrial value chain in 2011, revenues & market shares of key players…

Table of contents

Table of Content 2
Objectives of the Report 5
Glossary 6
Executive Summary 7
Noteworthy News 2011 18
GaAs Overview 19
> GaAs In the Spectrum of Compound Semiconductors
> GaAs Compound Semiconductor Material - Introduction
> Why GaAs Technology Important?
> Properties of GaAs Main Advantages of GaAs
> Properties of GaAs Silicon Advantages Over GaAs
> GaAs Wafer Types Semi-Insulating (SI) vs.Semi-Conducting (SC)
> Main Applications of GaAs Based Devices
> GaAs Value Chain & Position of Key Players

GaAs Substrate Market 30

> Overall GaAs Substrate Market (2009-2011)
> Semi-Insulating GaAs Substrate Market (2009-2011)
> Semi-Conductive GaAs Substrate Market (2009-2011)
> Analysis of GaAs Substrate Applications
> GaAs Substrate Market Trends (2012-2017)

GaAs Substrate Manufacturing 87

> Introduction - The “Black Arts” of GaAs Manufacturing
> GaAs Manufacturing Process Flow From Raw Materials to Epiready Wafers
> Raw Materials - Gallium (Ga), Arsenic (As)…
> GaAs Ingot Manufacturing Methods
> Bridgeman Method - Vertical Growth Freeze (VGF)
> Czochralski Method - Liquid Encapsulated Czochralski (LEC)
> Bridgeman (VGF) vs. Czochralski (LEC) Comparison
> Poly-Crystalline Ingot Manufacturing
> Mono-Crystalline Ingot Manufacturing Using VGF
> Finished Wafer Manufacturing
> Wafer Backside Thinning RF Circuits Requirement (SC GaAs)
> GaAs Wafer Defects
> Epitaxy Growth
> REACH - Threat making European GaAs Manufacturing Industry Dead
> GaAs Wafer Suppliers Overview The Move to China
> Conclusion

Semi -Insulating GaAs Applications 109
> What is Semi-Insulating GaAs?
> SI GaAs Applications Overview
> SI GaAs vs. Other Semiconductor Materials
> Cellular RF Trends
> WiFi & Wireless LAN Trends
> Other Applications Trends: CATV, Radar…
> RF Applications & Wafer Sizes
> Packaging Issues
> SI GaAs Content in Smartphones & Tablets
> Wafer Defects
> Market Drivers for RF applications
> Specificities of RF Wafer Business
> Threats to SI GaAs for RF Applications
> RF Device Makers - Recent Consolidation Activities

Semi -Conductive GaAs Applications 161

> SC GaAs Applications: Overview
> SC GaAs Application: LEDs
> SC GaAs Application: Lasers Diodes
> SC GaAs Application: HCPV

General Conclusion 214

Company Profiles 218
Appendix 250


Companies cited

Century Epitech
Freiberger Compound Materials
Hitachi Cable

Hittite Microwave
Mimix Broadband
Mitsubishi Chemical
Mitsubishi Electric
Electric Device Innovation
Sumitomo Electric Industries
Win Semi
Xiamen Powerway



All applications of GaAs wafer and market metrics, detailing:

  • GaAs based devices, specific requirements, associated market drivers & challenges…
  • GaAs wafer market size (M$) & volume (Msi and wafer units) with split by type of substrate, split by wafer size, split by geography, split by application, revenues by player, trends until 2017...