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Strong Growth Ahead for GaAs Substrate Markets

by Asif Anwar | 7月 19, 2010

The slowdown in the GaAs industry supply chain extended through to the first half of 2009, but a robust recovery in the second half resulted in SI GaAs substrates volumes, both bulk and epi, still growing year-on-year. Orders started to filter through in the second quarter of 2009 as end-users looked to re-build stock levels and  Strategy Analytics models show that by the end of the second quarter, the market had started to see robust demand for materials and devices through the whole GaAs industry supply chain.  While we continue to see silicon technologies encroaching further into traditional markets for GaAs, we didn’t see any major paradigm shift in the architectural makeup of cellular terminals during the slowdown.GaAs-based power amplifiers and switches continued to be the incumbent technology in the RF (radio frequency) front-end. This is especially true for the next generation of phones, where our previously forecasted trends of multi-mode and multi-band operation are especially relevant.   Significantly, not only will GaAs technology be central to supporting the fastest growing “smartphone” category of cellular handsets, but there is also an increase in the ratio of PAs per terminal as well as more complex switching requirements. This will drive up demand for HBT and pHEMT devices and the subsequent demand for epitaxial and bulk GaAs substrates.  Augmenting this demand from cellular handsets will be the uptake of wireless broadband based on cellular radio technology implemented in notebook computers, USB dongles as well as other platforms including M2M and energy monitoring markets. Adding to this demand will be increasing functionality such as Wi-Fi and GPS being incorporated into handsets, which provides additional opportunities for GaAs technology.  Strategy Analytics’ studies are projecting five-year compound annual average growth rates of up to 12%, translating into volumes growing by as much as 160% through 2014. Clients can access the latest reports and data models outlining these forecasts, With the industry currently facing a feeding frenzy as demand for smartphones continues to outstrip the rest of the cellular handset market, are these growth projections too low? Let us know what you think.
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