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LighTimes: Yole Development Predicts New Wave of MOCVD Equipment Purchases with Big-Three Dominance Continuing

24 Apr 2014

April 10, 2014…Yole Development forecasts a new wave of investment in MOCVD equipment for LED fabrication in 2014 through 2016. The market for LEDs for general lighting will drive this wave of investment, according to Yole. Unlike the overly optimistic run of MOCVD investment in the business in 2010 to 2011, based upon expectations of the LCD display market, improvement in equipment throughput and yields as well as increased competition and industry consolidation will limit the impact of the latest investment cycle.

Three companies will continue to monopolize the market. Aixtron, Veeco, and Tayo Nippon Sanso had about 97 percent market share among them in 2013. Yole predicts that the equipment market will peak at about $580 million in 2015 with MOCVD reactors representing more than 80 percent of the total. Yole indicated that Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers are purchasing the bulk of these MOCVD reactors as they switch to 4″ systems.
Yole notes that LED epitaxy requires dedicated tools supplied by companies that have much knowledge about fabricating LEDs. According to Yole, more than 20 entrants (mostly from Asia) into the MOCVD reactor business since 2010 have attained little success. Their total market contribution rose from 2 percent in 2010 to just 3 percent in 2013.
Yole cites two reasons for these company’s unsuccessful entrance into the market. First, the new entrants have missed the first two LED growth cycles (small display and large display applications) that have allowed the main three to build expertise and their networks (sales offices, training centers, etc.). Even big names, such as Applied Materials, was not able to access these markets. Secondly, revenue from the 2010 to 2011 investment cycle, which included a total of more than $2 billion for MOCVD reactors, have allowed Aixtron and Veeco to slash prices and start a price war with which others can not compete.
Decreasing the cost of ownership is the main strategy that new entrants into the MOCVD market are adopting, Yole says. MOCVD Equipment makers can reduce the cost of ownership with innovations such as a new heating system, new gas flow design, and increased automation. Yole does not expect new entrants to have a substantial increase in future market share as the expertise and capital of Aixtron and Veeco (the Big Two) far surpass their competitors.

In the short term, Yole anticipates only two types of MOCVD equipment suppliers (outside of the Big three) will survive. These are suppliers that collaborate with some big LED manufacturers and Chinese suppliers that can scrape together pieces of the huge local market.