Developed countries are now channeling their efforts into advancing their polymer application technology as countries such as China and India continue to out-produce their richer counterparts. It is predicted that newer applications for polymers will drive growth in the developed regions of Europe and North America, even though the rate of growth will not be substantial at global level due to the smaller market size for these innovations. In contrast, the Asia-Pacific market is the largest for polymers for electrical and electronic applications, and this is expected to continue with impressive growth over the next few years. This area, with China in particular, has emerged as a manufacturing hub for petrochemical products due to relatively low production costs. This factor, combined with an improvement in living standards, led to the region accounting for 50.9% of the global electronic polymers demand in 2011, as per GBI Research. The Asia-Pacific region accounted for half of the global polymer demand for electrical and electronic applications and was the largest market for electronic polymers. Traditional polymers such as polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene constituted more than half of the global electronic polymers demand in 2011. These polymers were largely used for insulation or encapsulation purposes.
Overall, the global demand for polymers for electrical and electronic applications is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9% to 23,293,511 tons in 2017, from a total of 15,601,841 tons in 2011. Manufacturers in developed countries are typically unable to compete in the Asia-Pacific region because of low labor costs. Accordingly, these countries are relying more and more on the development of more advanced polymer applications. The UK government, for example, has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in the development of organic light emitting diodes (OLED) and printing electronics, with major manufacturers working on similar technologies. These innovations have huge potential, yet their success depends on their efficiency and acceptance in the market and, as these applications do not have a particularly impressive track record, they are not expected to out-perform more traditional encapsulation and insulation applications of polymers such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) in the coming years.
As per BCC Research,
the global electronic chemicals and materials market was estimated at US$24.6 bln in 2009 and US$28.5 bln in 2010. This market is expected to reach US$51.6 bln in 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6% over the 2010-2015 forecast period.
Wafer demand is projected to increase more than 20% in 2010 to approximately US$14.7 bln, after declining by nearly 40% to US$12.2 bln in 2009. BCC expects the market to reach US$26.7 bln by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% between 2010 and 2015.
Demand for polymers and conductive polymers in the electronics industry will grow at a projected CAGR of 26%, from an estimated US$$1.9 bln in 2010 to about US$5.9 bln in 2015. Most of the projected growth is attributable to conductive polymers.
Electronic chemicals and materials are solid, liquid, and gaseous substances used in the fabrication of semiconductors and printed circuit boards (PCBs). Global demand for electronic chemicals and materials, particularly in developed countries, is projected to increase at a CAGR of 12.6% through 2015.
The increase in demand for electronic chemicals and materials is related to overall growth in the production of electronic devices, as well as technological innovation that will create opportunities for new materials. New materials such as low-k dielectrics and advanced photoresists will see growth rates well above average, and opportunities will also emerge in existing technologies as chemical compositions are improved to attain better compatibility and lower costs