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At his first interview with the TCPA Quarterly after the election, Maurice Lee, the new chairperson of the Taiwan Printed Circuit Association (TCPA) and also PCB Business unit I President of Unimicron Technology Corporation, talked about the challenges in the development of the PCB industry, 5G issues, and the TCPA missions and expectations of his term.
In regards to the outlook of the overall PCB industry in 2019, Chairperson Lee believes that unfavorable factors including the US-China trade war and the increasingly stringent environmental laws of mainland China will be potential threats to Taiwan. In addition, although Taiwan’s PCB industry has a market share of 31.3%, as mainland China is currently the world’s major PCB production cluster, peer competitions should not be overlooked. He suggests that Taiwanese PCB manufacturers should continue to strengthen factory operational management, such as reducing the labor cost with smart automation, quality improvement, and production cost cut, to raise competitiveness.
When asked if 5G is the next business opportunity for the PCB industry, Chairperson Lee replied: “Although 5G devices will be launched one after another in 2019, in lack of infrastructure and applications, it is estimated that 5G application growth will only begin in the communications, computers, and consumer electronics sector in 2020. Also, as it is necessary to overcome the high reliability technology involved with human safety, 5G application in self-driving cars will become more mature after 2020. Therefore, the high-speed and low-lag technology desperately required by 5G application and the stability and thermo solution required by 5G high-frequency signals will be key factors challenging the PCB industrial chain.
In PCB smart manufacture at the moment, Chairperson Lee explained: “The PCB industry is only at the Industry 2.2 stage, and Industry 4.0 is not necessitated by all industries. Take SMEs for example, Industry 3.5 is the best mixed warfare, particularly many PCB factory buildings in Taiwan cannot be demolished for reconstruction, it is necessary to implement smart automation by smartly and effectively exploit resources. After all, instead of being “the best”, the “most appropriate” will sound much better. This idea simply coincides with the value and spirit of Industry 3.5.
Apart from assisting members in making closer exchange and cooperation through TCPA, Lee as the chairperson of TCPA will lead Taiwan’s PCB manufacturers to march toward the next milestone and improve the competitiveness of Taiwan’s PCB industry by exploring the long-term needs of members according to the different aspects specified in the TCPA White Paper.
Business opportunities in relation to 5G begin like flowers in the desert after rain all across the world. TCPA will keep track on 5G related issues. Therefore, TCPA even names the TPCA Show 2019 held at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center during October 23-25 “5G NEXT” to link the upstream and the downstream of the PCB industry to break the new-generation challenges.