DescriptionA comprehensive survey of LED Front-End equipment business, covering main trends and industry per process step, and market metrics.
THE NEXT INVESTMENT CYCLE HAS ALREADY STARTED
Driven by the fanfare over (and overestimation of) the LCD display market, the LED Front-End equipment market experienced an unprecedented investment cycle in 2010-2011. The market surge was driven mostly by MOCVD reactor shipments to new Chinese entrants, who benefited from the generous subsidies of the Chinese central and local governments in a bid to stimulate domestic chip production.
Following a 18-24 month digestion period, the market is now slowly recovering and will experience another investment cycle in 2014-2016 driven by demand for general lighting applications.
However, this 2nd cycle will be limited in value due to:
• Improvement in equipment throughput and yields
• Increased competition
• Potential consolidation of the industry
Indeed, LED manufacturers initially relied on old semiconductor systems designed for other applications. Now that the industry has reached a critical size, several LED-dedicated equipment (that take into account the specificities of LED manufacturing) has been commercialized.
As a result, the equipment market will peak at nearly $580M in 2015 with MOCVD reactors representing more than 80% of the business: the bulk of these reactors are still being shipped to Chinese manufacturers or Taiwanese players transitioning to 4” diameters. Lithography, plasma etching, PECVD and PVD equipment will follow a similar trend.
This report presents major equipment used in LED Front-End Manufacturing. It describes market size and volume (2009-2020), trends per process steps (performance, ASP, emerging technologies…), key suppliers, and much more!
DIFFERENT MARKETS WITH DIFFERENT COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPES
The LED epitaxy equipment market (MOCVD reactor) is very concentrated under the control of the Big 3 (Aixtron, Veeco and Tayo Nippon Sanso) who represented nearly 97% of market share in 2013.
Comparatively, the lithography, plasma etching, PECVD, and PVD equipment markets are much more fragmented with several players battling to enlarge their market share. As an example, the top three suppliers of LED lithography equipment represented nearly 70% of market share in 2013 with the remaining 30 % in the hands of more than 10 competitors.
This situation is due to specificities of the different LED Front-End manufacturing process steps:
• LED epitaxy is quite specific and requires dedicated tools supplied by companies that have developed strong know-how.
• Other LED Front-End manufacturing processes can use older or refurbished semiconductor systems designed for other applications. And with the growth of the LED industry, suppliers of LED-dedicated systems have also appeared. This has further fragmented these markets, now both traditional semiconductor equipment suppliers and new LED-dedicated equipment suppliers compete.
This report represents a comprehensive overview of all technological and industrial aspects of LED Front-End manufacturing. It also provides details about key technological highlights that impact LED Front-End manufacturing, discusses future trends, and much more!INCREASED COMPETITION IN THE MOCVD INDUSTRY? YES, BUT NO REAL IMPACT ON MARKET STRUCTURE UNTIL NOW
LED epitaxy equipment market has always been of central interest to equipment manufacturers due to its high ASP, strong profitability, and large market volume (compared to other equipment markets).
Since 2010, following the explosion of the LED TV market, more than 20 players (mostly from Asia) have tried to enter the MOCVD reactor market but without real success: in 2013, these new suppliers represented only 3% of market share (only +2% compared to 2010).
This situation arises for 2 main reasons:
• New entrants have missed the first 2 LED growth cycles (small display and large display applications) that have allowed leaders to build their expertise and know-how as well as their networks (sales office, training center…). Even big names, such as Applied Materials, did not achieve access to these markets.
• Revenue collected during the 2010-2011 investment cycle (a total of more than $2 billion for MOCVD reactors, with > 90% going to Aixtron and Veeco) have allowed Veeco and Aixtron to slash ASP and initiate a price war to lever further market entry barriers.
The current LED Front-End industry is largely driven by cost reduction (as technological evolutions are reaching their saturation point). The main strategy developed by a new MOCVD reactor supplier is to focus on decreasing Cost of Ownership through a new heating system, new gas flow design, and increased automation (…). However, even if this is the best and only strategy to adopt, we do not expect new entrants to have a big increase in future market share as the finances and expertise of the Big 2 far surpass any of their competitors.
At short term, only 2 types of suppliers (outside of the Big 3) will survive:
• Suppliers that develop collaboration with some big LED manufacturers.
• Chinese suppliers that are able to scrape together bits and pieces of the huge local market.
This report presents a detailed analysis of the LED MOCVD reactor industry, detailing key players but also new entrants. It also highlights new strategies developed by these new entrants, future evolution of the industry, and much more!13, these new suppliers represented only 3% of market share (only +2% compared to 2010).