The sapphire industry: What’s next?

Almost two years after GTAT’s bankruptcy, the sapphire industry is still there. Its decor and characters have, of course, changed but the story is still unfolding. Survival strategies, emerging applications and niche markets, mergers and acquisitions. All the protagonists are contributing to altering the landscape, trying to identify new business opportunities to absorb the sapphire overcapacity. China is a major contributor to the story with new investments and emerging companies in this already saturated industry. What is the impact on the sapphire supply chain? What are the strategies to be adopted to succeed? What are the long-term perspectives?

Figure 1

Figure 1

In this tense economic environment, Yole Développement (Yole) and its partner CIOE are organizing a 1.5 day conference to learn more about the status of the sapphire industry. The event will provide an opportunity for all the participants to discuss the future of this industry and to find answers. Sapphire is now more affordable than ever and new capabilities have enabled the manufacturing of components for very diverse applications. The 2nd International Forum on Sapphire Market & Technologies is the place to be to understand today’s economic and technical challenges and build tomorrow’s industry.

The Yole & CIOE Forum will take place from September 6 to 7 in Shenzhen, China, alongside the 18th China International Optoelectronic Expo 2016. To find out more about this event, visit: Sapphire Forum Agenda – Sapphire Forum Registration.

Figure 2

Figure 2

 The LED sector still has the highest demand for sapphire, but the expected volumes cannot sustain the one hundred or so sapphire producers currently competing in the industry.
Some sapphire companies are leaving the most commoditized markets and shifting their development strategies toward niche markets with higher added-value such as medical, industrial and military applications. Other business opportunities could materialize, including microLED arrays and other consumer applications.

Most sapphire companies are chasing any opportunity to survive and optimize their cost structure within a market which is currently characterized by a relentless price war. In Q1- 2016, the sapphire price plunged to its lowest ever level and most companies experienced a drastic decrease in revenue.

In this highly competitive market with significant economic constraints, Yole and CIOE are organizing the 2nd International Forum on Sapphire Market & Technologies (Shenzhen, China – September 6&7, 2016).

“The Sapphire Forum is an opportunity for the entire supply chain to come together to assess the current status of the industry, understand what lies ahead and determine the best strategies to make it through the crisis”, comments Dr. Eric Virey, Senior Technology & Market Analyst, Yole.


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