Electronic Material Demand Continues to Recover

Demand of electronic materials continues to recover since the last half of 2005. Shipment is especially busy for flat and wide screen television with liquid crystal or plasma display panel before Torino Winter Olympics and Soccer World Cup in 2006, though demand might decline temporarily around Chinese New Year. Demand of electronic materials is also firm for cellular phone and personal computer under worldwide economy growth.Demand of sputtering targets maintains brisk, which are used as thin film materials. Sales of end products are increasing, such as personal computer, cellular phone, thin and wide screen television and car navigation system. Additionally needs for advanced materials are growing when end products become smaller and more sophisticated. Consumption volume of sputtering targets also increase with television growth in size.For semiconductors, demand of sputtering targets is increasing for copper with 99.9999% purity and tantalum, when semiconductor makers actively expand their production capacity for advanced silicon wafer with 300 millimeters diameter and 0.13 microns pitch. Nikko Materials, the largest supplier of sputtering targets, is increasing its output capacity of high purity copper targets from 30 tonnes to 40 tonnes per month, with expectation that the semiconductor market grows in Asia, mainly in China. Its new equipment will start operation in December 2006.For liquid crystal panel, demand of sputtering targets is firm for indium tin oxide (ITO) as transparent conductive film and for aluminium alloy and molybdenum alloy as circuit materials. The demand owes its growth to the increase of the liquid crystal panel market and the panel growth in size. Shipment of magnetic targets is also increasing when hard disc drive is used in various appliances.