October 7, 2021

Japan on the Offensive in Advanced Materials

Advanced materials are indispensable for raising the performance of AI and EVs

Advanced materials are those materials that are indispensable for raising the performance of the batteries and motors used in electric vehicles (EVs), and of the semiconductors etc. which control the computing power of artificial intelligence (AI). High-level technical strength is essential for their manufacturing and development. Wafers for semiconductor manufacturing require processing of the silicon raw material into crystals of 99.999999999% purity.

Compared to commodity-level materials, advanced materials are highly profitable, and Japanese materials manufacturers are investing to resist their Chinese and South Korean competitors. Nippon Steel and JFE Steel are raising their production capacities for the magnetic steel plate used in EV motors. Toray, which has a 60% global share of materials for film condensers for automotive use, plans to invest billions of Yen to add more production lines.

Fuji Keizai forecasts that the global market for semiconductor materials in 2024 will be worth USD40.53 billion (approx. JPY4.4 trillion), up around 23% from 2019. In semiconductor materials, attention is focusing on materials which will lead to power consumption reductions, as well as on those for communications and data storage.

World Market Forecast for Main Semiconductor Materials
2024Increase rate
Silicon waferUSD 12.87 billion16.4%
PhotoresistUSD 2.37 billion60.1%
CMP slurryUSD 1.58 billion37.4%
Package substrate materialUSD 1.11billion26.1%
*Growth rates are relative to 2019

Source: Fuji Keizai