How will GaN and GaAs markets grow and compete?


  • SiC & GaN for power electronics:
    SiC for next-generation premium EV models: there has been an acceleration in automotive design wins for main inverters, OBC s and DC/DC converters.
    Leading SiC players are expecting several new design wins in upcoming quarters for high-volume platforms...
    SiC also continues its penetration in industrial and transportation applications.
    Investment, capacity expansion and new arrivals in the global SiC ecosystem continue…
    Chinese companies continue to adopt GaN fast chargers as a technology differentiator.
    GaN players enjoy steady growth with multiple design wins.
    GaN-based solutions have been also developed for datacom & telecom and automotive market segments.
    GaN is also showing several notable investments in Q1-21.
  • RF electronics:
    5G PAs start to strongly drive the GaAs RF market since H2-20: in 2020 the main development of handset solution is 5G-based.
    GaAs supply chain: IDMs, epihouses and foundries report strong revenue in Q1-21 which directly reflects the market dynamics.
    Continuing the increasing penetration of 5G phones in the smartphone market starting in Q4-20, GaAs RF market is still strongly driven by the handset applications, especially in China/Asia, North America and Europe.
    GaN RF industry is facing uncertainty in terms of business visibility for H1-21.
    This is related to restrictions on Huawei.
    RF GaN IDMs especially Qorvo continues achieving new design wins in the emerging 5G infrastructure market.5G telecom infrastructure has been one of the killer applications for GaN RF.
    GaN is also expected to make its entry in 5G Handsets in the upcoming years.
    Industrials should keep an eye on over the coming quarters…

“GaN power device revenue is forecast to grow from less than US$50 million in 2020 to more than US$1 billion by 2026 while the RF GaN market can also expect significant growth from US$891 million to more than US$2.5 billion in the same time-frame”writes Ezgi Dogmus, PhD. Team Lead Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole). “Meanwhile, the RF GaAs bare die market is set to nudge US$4 billion by 2026.”
But as new entrants jostle for attention in the power GaN market and additional capacity is rolled out for the RF GaN sector can the tried-and-tested RF GaAs segment hold onto its ample market lead?
Following a dip in quarterly revenue growth from 2019 to 2020, revenues have been steadily rising from Q2 2020 with many industry players making the most of the market revival.
As early as 2018, Ireland-based GaN semiconductor developer, Navitas Semiconductor was using GaN IC s in its GaNFast smartphone fast chargers and since the end of 2020, many more industry players have followed this lead. For its part, Navitas recently joined forces with Live Oak Acquisition Corp, US, to go public in a SPAC deal valued at $1.04 billion.
“This critical industry development follows in the footsteps of US-based business, Transphorm, which went public in 2020,” comments Ahmed Ben Slimane, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst from Yole. And he adds: “And now Navitas is ramping fast GaN charger shipments to the likes of Dell, Lenovo, LG and Xiaomi and more. “
The company also intends to extend its portfolio from fast chargers to datacoms, telecoms, e-mobility, industrial, energy and other applications, signaling strong market confidence. In another positive move, US-based power IC business, Power Integrations, recently released the MinE-CAP IC for high power density AC-DC converters, adopted in the new Anker Nano II fast charger model. Targeting compact chargers and adapters, the IC shrinks the volume of AC-DC converters by up to 40%, raises efficiency, and importantly, increases the dollar content of GaN in devices, factors that can only help to raise Power Integration’s GaN market share…

As the RF GaN market continues to gather momentum, 5G telecoms and infrastructure remains a key driver for this market with high power, high bandwidth GaN components having penetrated base stations, remote radio heads and MIMO active antenna systems. Indeed, Yole estimates this market segment to exceed US$1billion by 2026, representing 42% of the entire market.
At the same time, the defense sector also continues to drive growth with applications expected to represent up to 48% of the entire market by 2026. GaN is being more widely used in lightweight transmit/receive modules for AESA radar airborne systems and is also deployed in fixed satellite communications. Emerging applications include handsets and mobile satellite communications.
Difficult GaN qualification may hinder the technology’s adoption in satellite communications, but this could change. For example, the European Space Agency is currently working with partners such as Airbus to develop GaN power amplifiers for antennae; and projects such as this will promote the adoption of GaN in space applications.
Still, the billion-dollar question for many in the RF GaN market is when will the technology truly find its way into consumer mobile handsets?
“Two years ago STMicroelectronics revealed it was working on GaN-on-silicon-based power amplifiers for handsets, and now a further major industry player has expressed similar interests,” explains Poshun Chiu, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. “Given these market movements, Yole expects to see GaN power amplifiers being adopted in mobile and consumer applications from 2022.”

“From word go, GaN-on-SiC has been the leading light in the RF GaN industry, having launched more than 20 years ago and now rivalling LDMOS and GaAs in RF power applications,”asserts Selsabil Sejil, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst, part of the Compound Semiconductor & Emerging substrates team at Yole. “Indeed, our figures indicate GaN-on-SiC will grow from US$886 million in 2020 to US$2.2 billion in 2026, with a 17% CAGR .“

What about RF GaAs? Despite facing competition to GaN and SiGe in high power and high frequency applications, such as telecom and infrastructure, RF GaAs currently holds the largest market share by quite a margin – and this figure is set to grow.
With the launch of Apple’s iPhone 12 handsets to support 5G in 2020, the demand for GaAs is on the rise again, with the industry’s tried-and-tested compound semiconductor being a key building block in power amplifiers for sub-6GHz band. Along with the factor in the launch of WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E, handset connectivity from smartphone manufacturers keeps driving the demands of RF GaAs. Yole predicts RF GaAs market share will edge towards a mighty $4 billion from now until 2023. However, in telecom and infrastructure, GaAs is predicted to lose some of this market share to competing technologies such as GaN and SiGe…
Discover the full article, written by our Compound Semiconductor & Emerging Substrates team for i-Micronews. This article details Q2 results extracted from the Quarterly Market Monitor, Q2 2021.

Aim of the Compound Semiconductor Quarterly Market Monitor is to provide an in-depth coverage of rapidly changing market dynamics and main players’ status and strategy.
The market research and strategy consulting company is publishing its analysis every beginning of March (Q1), June (Q2), September (Q3) and December (Q4), with two modules:
• Module I: GaN and SiC for power electronics applications
• Module II: GaAs and GaN for RF electronics applications
• Module III: GaAs and InP Optoelectronics (to be released in Q3-21)
Stay tuned to i-Micronews to get further information about our Compound Semiconductor & Power electronics activities!

SiC: Silicon Carbide
GaN: Gallium Nitride
EV: Electric Vehicle
OBC: On-Board Charger
RF: Radio Freaquency
PAs: Power Amplifier
GaAs: Gallium Arsenide
IDM: Integrated Device Manufacturer
IC: Integrated Circuit
SPAC: Special Purpose Acquisition Company
CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate
SiGe: Silicon Germanium