More than 100 companies now produce high-brightness (HB) LEDs at various levels of the vertical supply chain, according to the market research firm Strategies Unlimited.
While the $3.7 billion market in 2004 for packaged HB-LEDs was dominated by a small number of major suppliers, there is still room for new companies to fill niches with novel device packaging or structures, says the report.
Bob Steele, the company’s director of optoelectronics programs, says that the top five companies supplied more than 50% of the market for packaged HB-LEDs in 2004.
"These companies were Nichia, Osram, Citizen, Agilent and Toyoda Gosei," said Steele.
Nearly three-quarters of the market is supplied by the top 10 companies, out of a total of 48 companies identified as packaged HB-LED suppliers.
In the latest report, Steele adds that the HB-LED industry is yet to become highly integrated. Out of the 74 companies analyzed, only 12 are vertically integrated from epiwafer growth and chip production through to the packaging stage.
Meanwhile, 36 companies purchase chips and produce packaged HB-LEDs.
Asia remains the dominant geographical region in terms of production, accounting for 76% of the packaged HB-LED market and 57% of merchant epiwafer and chip sales in 2004.
”In spite of some industry consolidation,” said Steele, pointing out the recent merger between Taiwan-based Epitech and South Epitaxy and the impending union of Epistar and United Epitaxy Company, “we can expect to see new HB-LED suppliers continue to enter the market.”
Steele believes that new packaging concepts and structures such as photonic crystals are the most likely innovations to see a new company challenge the established suppliers.
”Although it is more than ten years old, the HB-LED industry is far from mature. New companies with new ideas will continue to help propel the industry to new frontiers in both technology and applications,” concluded Steele.
Adapted from a news item on the Compound Semiconductor website.