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Yole CIS Market Report

Yole Developpement releases "Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2018" report:

"2017 saw aggregated CIS industry revenue of $13.9B. We now forecast a 9.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next five years. Year-on-year (YoY) growth hit a peak at 20% due to the exceptional increase in image sensor value, across almost all markets, but primarily in the mobile sector.

The market has benefited from the operational recovery of leading CIS player Sony, which captured 42% market share. The CIS industry is able to grow at the speed of the global semiconductor industry, which also had a record year, mainly due to DRAM revenue growth.

The key takeaway from 2017 has been the rapid deployment of dual camera approaches in the mobile sector. The market has quickly adopted dual cameras on the rear of the phones, serving photography either to improve resolution and low light performance or to provide optical zoom capabilities. Dual camera approaches have also been deployed on the front side, mostly serving biometric face or iris recognition, but also 3D sensing in the Apple iPhone X. Competition and differentiation between mobile device manufacturers is deeply linked to CIS implementation. CIS has therefore benefited from ever-increasing dollar content per smartphone, compensating for the mobile market slowdown.

Security is now one of the most active markets, tightly connected to Chinese involvement in the industry. Hikvision and Dahua are the two new leading OEM manufacturers, having capitalized very quickly on internet protocol (IP) camera technology, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The number of cameras per security system isn’t limited by human monitoring any more, which is a paradigm shift for surveillance. In automotive the same is occurring, as rear back-up cameras have become mandatory in the US.

Sony is the unchallenged industry leader market and technology-wise. It benefited from the operational recovery of the Kuamoto foundry after the major earthquake of 2016. This helped Sony’s market share increase, on top of the CIS market’s rapid growth. Samsung is also maintaining its growth, and is now able to match most of Sony’s technology advancements in 3D stacking. This mostly serves Samsung’s handset division, but it’s increasingly supporting Chinese OEMs in a constrained environment for high-end Mobile CIS. Omnivision seems to have completed its transition toward continental China, with HLMC now producing one third of its products, and is capturing good revenue in automotive. The next logical step would be to expand its early successes in the near-infrared (NIR) Global Shutter device designed into the Intel Realsense products, which unfortunately suffered from shrinking computing business.

STMicroelectronics stole the show at the end of 2017 by capturing the slot in the newly released iPhone X with an innovative NIR Global shutter based on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrate. ON Semiconductor has become the key player in automotive despite growing competition from Sony and Samsung. Growth in its Industrial division helped mitigate decreasing volumes of action and drone camera products. On the CIS foundry side, HLMC has benefited from the production transfer from Omnivision and TPSCo similarly from ON Semiconductor. Hynix is apparently locked in a conundrum prioritizing DRAM over CIS. SMIC similarly has to invest in the next generation technology and is in transition. Probably the last key aspect of this year’s status of CIS is China’s positive progress. Having built a consistent ecosystem incorporating CIS foundries, CIS vendors and high growth system manufacturers, China CIS ecosystem will become more important in the future.
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