TPCA releases industry white paper announcing new plans

By Ted Chen, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Taiwan Printed Circuit Association (TPCA, 台灣電路板協會) yesterday released its white paper outlining plans to propel annual output values to above the NT$1.15 trillion benchmark across the domestic printed circuit board (PCB) industry by 2020. The association stated that in addition to constant innovation and improvements in technical capabilities, the sector must focus on integration throughout the supply chain, and transition toward greener and more environmentally friendly production processes in the face of growing competition.

TPCA Chairman Rick Wu (吳永輝) stated that Taiwan’s PCB industry is the third largest in the domestic technology sector, trailing after the semiconductor and display panel industries. Under the impact of the rapidly evolving landscape for electronics products, heightening competition in the field and the constraints of the domestic environment for enterprise operations, growth in the PCB industry has receded to about 2 percent annually. In light of the challenges, Wu stated that the sector must define a clear direction for future endeavors in order to reach the goal of achieving yearly output value of NT$1.15 trillion by 2020.

In particular, Wu noted that although the new frontiers of 4G-related products and wearable devices at first glance benefit only the camera and display module-making industries, prospective growth in the PCB sector should not be overlooked. According to Wu, all forthcoming electronic products must be rely on PCBs, bringing forth great challenges and growth prospects for the sector.

The white paper outlines a six-year plan in three phases addressing challenges and required transitions in market positioning, product development, environmental conservation, labor, equipment, technology and materials faced by the PCB sector. Most notably, the white paper urged the sector to transition toward adopting smart technology-assisted production, and place greater emphasis on establishing a wholly domestic-based supply chain.

The white paper also called for changes in human resources development, including certification programs, high-level talent cultivation and greater flexibility in utilizing contract employees and foreign workers.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Technology Research Institute’s (工研院) Industrial Economics & Knowledge Center (IEK) stated that the number of mobile devices owned by active users is expected to reach 7.6 billion by this year, and that by 2020, the number of Internet of Things (IOT) devices is poised to reach 6.6-fold reaching 50.1 billion, representing tremendous growth prospects for Taiwan’s PCB sector.