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Viewpoint Index

January 26, 2017

VIEWPOINT 2017: Cheam Tong Liang, V.P. Corporate Strategy, Kulicke & Soffa
VIEWPOINT 2017: Cheam Tong Liang, V.P. Corporate Strategy, Kulicke & Soffa
Cheam Tong Liang, Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Kulicke & Soffa
The semiconductor market growth in the last few years has been fueled primarily by smartphones and SSD. The smartphone and SSD has been pushing the envelope of the IC assembly and packaging technologies. This will continue in 2017.

We should expect smartphone and SSD to continue to be the major contributors to the semiconductor market growth in 2017.

As the electronics content in vehicles increases with the adoption of ADAS (automated driver assistance systems), we should see increased demand in automotive semiconductor. The LED market will be growing as well, and will be driven by the automotive and industrial segments.

The IC assembly and packaging technologies, both wire bonding and advanced packaging, will be progressively challenged by the above growth. As memory dies in SSD gets thinner, it's becoming more and more challenging to be wire bonded.

There are also other advanced features needed in the wire bonder to address specific requirements in SSD. New wire bonders are expected to be available from the semiconductor back-end equipment manufacturers such as Kulicke & Soffa to address these wire bonding challenges in SSD.

Time-to-market is one of the key challenges in the highly competitive smartphone market. We witnessed significant changes in the IC packages in the smartphone over the last 12 months. System-in-Package (SiP) is the new buzz word instead of System-on-Chip (SoC).

Heterogeneous SiP is a key enabler for faster time-to-market and lower cost. In 2017, we will see greater adoption of SiP with combination of multiple dies and passives in a single package.

In 2016, we saw the adoption of FOWLP with larger die in the smartphone. The Apple A10 adoption of the TSMC InFO technology was a game changing event in the industry. We expect other application processors for the smartphones to be following the trend in 2017 and beyond.

Thus, there will be tremendous growth in FOWLP ICs. Advanced Package-on-Package (PoP) will start to emerge in 2017 with some adopting thermocompression bonding (TCB) technology. TCB is mainly used in the memory today, and its adoption is limited due to cost.

We should expect semiconductor back-end equipment manufacturers such as Kulicke & Soffa, to be working with early TCB adopters to make TCB technology commercially viable.

Cheam Tong Liang, Vice President, Corporate Strategy
Kulicke & Soffa