Microwave Journal

Assessing Japanese Quake Impact on GaAs Industry

April 8, 2011

The impact of the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, as well as the on-going issues with the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, are affecting the equipment and materials suppliers, consumer electronics companies, automotive, test and measurement companies in Japan. The Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies (GaAs) service report, “Japanese Quake Impact on the GaAs Industry,” provides a preliminary assessment of the impact of the tragedy on the global GaAs industry in Japan and throughout the world.

Strategy Analytics assessment of the situation indicates that there is no danger of immediate disruption to the supply of gallium and arsenide raw materials. The supply of SI (semi-insulating) bulk substrates will also be sustained. GaAs device manufacturing facilities were also largely unaffected.

“The primary factors that will impact GaAs device supply out of Japan relate to more generic issues which have an impact on the whole electronics industry,” commented Eric Higham, Director, GaAs Service. “These include disruption to utilities, logistics and concern for the availability of materials used in chip packaging and assembly.”

“There is the possibility, however, that any significant ramp in demand for GaAs epitaxial substrates over the next three to six weeks may lead to end-users being placed on allocation”, observed Asif Anwar, Director at Strategy Analytics. “Strategy Analytics analysis shows that the Japanese epitaxial substrate suppliers were running at full production rates with little to no excess inventory in the supply chain.”

Japan is a leading player in the GaAs RF/microelectronics industry, accounting for 50 percent of bulk substrate supply, 18 to 20 percent of global SI GaAs epitaxial substrate production and up to one-fifth of the global GaAs device market. Japanese companies involved in the GaAs industry include Hitachi Cable, Renesas and Sumitomo Chemical.