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Japan maintains third ranking in global connector market

Posted: 14 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:connector? japan? electronics? mobile phone?

Japan has maintained being the third largest connector market in the world, following North America and Europe. Connector sales in Japan totaled $5.8 billion last year, up 18.1 percent year-on-year. The global connector industry achieved total sales of $33.4 billion last year, an increase of 17.9 percent over 2003.

All regions posted double-digit growth last year, based on statistics from research firm Bishop and Associates. North America is the world's biggest connector market, with sales reaching over $9 billion last year, an increase of 10.3 percent. Europe came in second with a 19.9 percent growth, reaching $8.68 billion. Mainland China at fourth registered the highest growth of 34.8 percent, with sales hitting $4.11 billion.

In Japan, there are more than 30 connector manufacturers. Small-scale makers have become less active or have withdrawn from the market. There have been no new entrants in the line over the past years. Makers are mostly large-scale and well-established companies.

This year, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Association projects that output for connectors will reach 19.17 million units, worth 4.36 billion. Export sales are expected to exceed $2 billion this year.

Applications that major connector makers in Japan are focusing on include mobile phones, digital/still video cameras, automotive and communications equipment. Makers believe that the mobile phone market has the potential to be a growth sector, particularly with the booming demand for 3G phones in the international market. Leading connector makers in the country predict that connector sales for mobile phones will rise to more than 10 percent this year.

For Yoshitsugu Murakami of Mitsumi Electric Co. Ltd, its memory card connectors are the bestsellers. Popular types are those used in mini SD cards, SD memory cards, compact flash cards, SIM cards and memory sticks.

FLC/FFC connectors with 0.3mm pitch are also becoming popular for use in portable electronic equipment such as mobile phones, digital cameras, information equipment and digital audio players.

Meanwhile, as some Japanese electronic makers have been relocating their production offshore, some local connector makers also are moving their operation near these electronic makers to reduce lead-time and remain competitive in the international market.

SMK Co. Ltd is one manufacturer who has moved its production overseas - to mainland China. The company also manufactures connectors for the Southeast Asian market to avoid relying too heavily on the mainland China market.

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