According to reports, sales of Japanese electronic component companies such as Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., TDK, Kyocera, Nidec, Alps Electric, and Nitto Denko increased by 8% from the same period last year to approximately 1.43 trillion yen from January to March of 2018. The overall growth has slowed down and it was revealed that the decrease in the sales of high-end models of Apple and Asian smart phone manufacturers in the US has affected this. On the other hand, components that support high-tech automobiles, such as electric cars and driving assistance, play a supporting role and gradually become new growth engines.
According to statistics, the orders of these electronic parts and components companies fell out of the influence of the downturn of the smart phone business in 2015 from October to December 2016 and turned to growth. Since then, the number of orders has maintained an increase of around 15% as smart phones continue to improve their functions. Before October-December 2017, it hit a record high for two consecutive quarters.
The current business slowdown is due to the sluggish performance of high-performance smartphones. From the beginning of 2018, the Apple reduced the production of iPhone X, and told component manufacturers to cut sales plans. The effectiveness of Chinese manufacturers’ efforts to purchase high-priced smart phone promotion policies has also come to an end, and the growth of high-function models is weak.
Alps Electric was affected by the deceleration in demand for smart phones, and the amount of orders remained the same as the previous year. Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. accounts for 40 to 50% of global market share in smart phone communication parts and components. Its electronic parts and components purchase orders have been increased by approximately 10% in real terms, except for the acquisition of Sony's battery business. Nitto Denko has reduced the figure by about 10%, and parts for display have also been affected by the sluggish sales of the iPhone's latest models and the adjustment of the order volume at the end of the year.
In FY2017 (as of March 2018), the 6 companies' annual orders amounted to approximately 5.94 trillion yen, a record high. Although the rate of increase slowed down, orders from the automotive industry, such as pure electric vehicles, played a supporting role. The main force of electronic components has turned to the automotive sector, and it has become more and more obvious that the pattern of deceleration of smartphone demand has been made up.
Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. will increase the production capacity of Shimane Prefecture's factory. By the end of 2019, it will invest up to 100 billion yen in the production of capacitors for electric cars. TDK also plans to increase the production capacity of automotive power supply components by 20% at factories both at home and abroad.