As IC packaging trends toward high density and multiple layers, IC substrates that use Ajinomoto Build-up Film (ABF) as an insulation material (also called ABF substrates) are gaining market attention. Japan was once a major IC substrate provider, but Taiwan has overtaken its market share.
However, on the foundation of a strong upstream supply chain and its resurging IC industry, Japan's IC substrate suppliers are having a growing influence on the semiconductor sector.
ABF was first developed and produced by Japan-based Ajinomoto, which led Japanese suppliers to gain an overwhelming dominance in the ABF substrate market in the early 2000s. However, Taiwanese firms returning home from China in the wake of the US-China trade war spurred burgeoning investments to expand production capacities in Taiwan.