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8 May 2013

Sapphire substrate oversupply signals difficult times for second-tier manufacturers

Sapphire ingot manufacturers are in a state of “the big gets bigger”, says LEDinside, a research department of TrendForce. According to the firm’s 2013 Global Sapphire Substrate Market Report, cost competitive, first-tier sapphire ingot manufacturers (the top ten) account for 80% of market share. 

LEDinside says that the main reason for the current situation is oversupply in the sapphire substrate market, which has led to a continuous price decline over the last two years, such that current prices of sapphire substrate for LED applications have been lower than the production costs for many manufacturers. This has led to many second-tier manufacturers halting ingot production, and instead purchasing low-cost ingots from first-tier manufacturers to be processed into sapphire substrates. At present, only cost competitive, first-tier manufacturers, such as Monocrystal, Rubicon, and STC (Korea’s Sapphire Technology Co Ltd), have production expansion plans. In addition to LED market applications, first-tier manufacturers are also exploring non-LED application fields.

With sapphire ingot prices staying low, only sapphire substrate manufacturers with cost management advantages and stable sales channels will survive, concludes the report.

Tags: Sapphire substrates LEDs


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