The market study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global photomask market for 2017-2021. The report also lists photomasking equipment and photomask inspection equipment as the two major segments based on equipment, of which the photomasking equipment segment accounted for close to 84% of the market share in 2016.
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Technavio analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global solar photomask market:
- Increasing demand for high chip density
- Growth of global FPD market
- Increasing demand for SoC technology
Increasing demand for high chip density
The density of the chips refers to the number of transistors built into a single chip. A high-density chip has many transistors that will enable it to perform at higher functionality, whereas a low-density chip has a few transistors and many chips are required to increase the functionality. The increasing need and demand for SoC are increasing the need for high chip density. Keeping pace with the increased level of integration, engineers and designers are continuously developing new techniques to manage more circuitry within the same area on a chip without compromising on the cost aspect.
This has accelerated investments in new technologies to manufacture photomasks for 28nm and 20nm wafer fabrication. IDMs and foundries would benefit by developing their wafer-manufacturing process, and they are also considered as the key customers to the photomask vendors.
Growth of global FPD market
An increased usage of flat panel display (FPD) in electronic devices, such as cell phones, TVs, notebooks, PCs, and other public display systems, has accelerated the demand for FPD masks. The FPD mask has a crucial role in the manufacturing of FPD panel displays as it forms the master plates for such displays. The growing demand for large-screen electronic devices has fueled the demand for large-sized photomasks. In addition, the high price of the 8/10 masks generation has encouraged vendors to capitalize on the growing demand for large-size photomasks and capture the market share. Hence, the growth in FPD market is expected to fuel the demand for photomask segment as well.
“With the growing popularity of small display screens in wearables and other small display devices, there is a significant rise in the use and demand for photomask inspection equipment,” says Chetan Mohan, a lead analyst at Technavio for semiconductor equipment research.
Increasing demand for SoC technology
System-on-chip (SoC) is an IC that assimilates the complex components of a computer or other electronic devices in a single chip, known as the microchip. A SoC is embedded in complex devices and acts as their central processors. SoC applications range from smart electronic devices such as wireless communication equipment, smartphones, automotive electronics, and smart gadgets. Vendors in the market concentrate on the development of consumer electronics mainly due to the large target audience where they can achieve high volume sales and realize the cost spent on R&D.
“The increased application of SoC in electronic devices increases the need for specialized photomasking equipment and raises the demand for photomask inspection equipment,” says Chetan.
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