Status of the Advanced Packaging Industry 2015

Status of the Advanced Packaging Industry 2015

By Andrej Ivankovic, Technology & Market Analyst, Advanced Packaging & Semiconductor Manufacturing, Yole Développement

A transformation of the semiconductor industry is under way – advanced packaging is part of the scaling and functionality roadmaps

The latest events in the technology market indicate that 2015 marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the IT and electronics industry. At semiconductor supply chain level, the industry entered a profound consolidation phase with high M&A activity reshaping the business landscape. Front-End-of-Line device scaling and related cost reduction are deviating from the path they followed for the past few decades, with Moore’s law in its foundation. Advanced nodes do not bring the desired cost benefit anymore and R&D investments in new lithography solutions and devices below 10nm nodes are rising substantially. As the smartphone market matures, new forces are appearing in the form of the Internet of Things (IoT). While the mobile sector continues to drive the market, the scent of IoT is already spreading in the consumer sector with products such as wearables and first smart home appliances. IoT market, application and technology segmentation has begun. Companies across the industry are restructuring, merging and acquiring in order to adjust their portfolio, enable a complete platform offer and establish leading positions on the market.

At the level of technology, as profitability of FEOL scaling options remains uncertain and IoT promises application diversification, the spotlight is now turning to advanced packages for:

  • Cost reduction
  • Performance boost
  • Functional integration

In order to answer market demands, the advanced packaging segment focuses on integration and wafer level packages (WLP). Emerging packages such as Fan-Out WLP, 2.5D/3D IC and related System-in-Package solutions aim to bridge the gap and revive the cost/performance curve.

How will the advanced packaging industry evolve, which changes in the semiconductor supply chain are taking place and which packaging technologies will be most critical in the years to come?

Advanced Packaging will reach 44% of packaging services and a revenue of $30B by 2020

According to Yole Développement estimates, advanced packaging services revenue will increase by  $9.8B from 2014 to 2020 at a CAGR of 7%, in majority due to high volume adoption of Fan-Out WLP, 2.5D / 3D and evolution and growth of Fan-In WLP and Flip-Chip. Advanced packages currently account for 38% of all packaging services or $20.2B and are expected to grow share to 44% and $30B by 2020.

The mobile sector remains the main advanced packaging market with smartphones and tablets as end products. Other high volume applications include servers, PC, game stations, HDD/USB, WiFi hardware, base stations, TVs and set top boxes. The scent of IoT is spreading with first products already on the market in the form of wearables and smart home appliances. Further early stage investments are made in sectors such as smart cities, connected cars, various industrial devices and medical applications.

The Flip-Chip platform represents a large mature market and leads in packaging services revenue and wafer count.  Fan-In WLP leads in unit count due to small size compared to demanded volume. Adoption of wafer level packages continues. Teardowns performed by Yole and its sister company, System Plus Consulting on 3 high end smartphones (iPhone 6+, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Huawei Ascend Mate 7) indicated a high penetration rate of WLP, 30% on average. Fan-Out WLP is expected to make a major breakthrough within the next year, likely led by TSMC inFO PoP and followed by other Fan-Out multi die solutions. Long term, a bright future lies ahead for wafer level packages with respect to IoT requirements as they are well position to answer related cost, form and functional integration demands. When it comes to advanced feature sizes, a competitive sub 10 µm / 10 µm arena is established where organic wafer level packages aggressively compete with advanced organic Flip-Chip substrates and 2.5D / 3D Si/glass interposers.

As WLP pin counts grow, thicknesses and overall cost decrease, the evolution of Fan-In WLP and in particular a breakthrough of Fan-Out WLP are expected to result in a takeover of a part of the Flip Chip market. With the breakthrough of Fan-Out WLP, the packaging landscape might drastically change, with an IDM and foundry leading all packaging services by wafer count.

A full analysis is available in the report including revenue, wafer and unit forecasts per advanced packaging platform and production breakdown by device type such as analog/mixed signal, wireless/RF, logic and memory, CMOS image sensors, MEMS, LED and LCD display drivers.

For more information on the report, visit, advanced packaging reports section.

Andrej Ivankovic is a Technology & Market Analyst, in the Advanced Packaging and Semiconductor Manufacturing team, at Yole Développement. 

With the participation of Amandine Pizzagalli, Thibault Buisson and Santosh Kumar.

Global Update
March 29, 2016