Asian Helium Market Accounts for More Than 30% of the Global Market
In 2017, the total usage of the Asian helium market, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China, reached 52.8 million cubic meters. According to the US Intelligas Consulting Company, the global market size is 168 million cubic meters (about 6 million cubic feet), and the Asian market accounts for about 30% of the market share. Among them, China is the most powerful growth engine.
In the past five years, the amount of helium used in China has grown at a rate of 5% to 13% per year, reaching a market size of 21.6 million cubic meters in 2017. The three major applications in the Chinese market are semiconductors, optical fibers, and MRI. The market structure is similar to Japan, but the scale is twice that of Japan, and the usage and market size are larger than Japan.
Four major global industrial gas companies hold trading rights in the semiconductor industry, namely Air Liquide Group, Linde Group, Praxair Group, and Air Products Company. The four companies are also competing for market share. With the merger of Linde and Praxair, they will be the world's largest helium company. Japanese companies Dayang Nitric Acid and Iwatani Gas also occupy a certain share in China, with an estimated total of 20% to 30%.
South Korea has global semiconductor manufacturers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. Helium is mainly used in semiconductor manufacturing. The size of the helium market in South Korea was about the same as that of Japan in 2010, but since 2012, the Japanese market has gradually shrunk. By 2017, the Korean market completely surpassed the Japanese market. The market size of South Korea in 2017 was 12.1 million cubic meters, an increase of 1 million cubic meters over the previous year. South Korea’s helium supply is controlled by a global industrial gas giant that monopolizes semiconductor trading rights, with Air Chemicals and Praxair holding relatively high market shares. Two Japanese companies also have supplies in South Korea, but both are positioned as secondary suppliers.
In Taiwan, similar to South Korea, semiconductor manufacturers such as TSMC , United Microelectronics (UMC), Micron Technology, and Powerchup Technology use the most helium. The market size suddenly expanded in 2010, reaching 8.3 million cubic meters in 2017. It is said that Air Products is the largest supplier in Taiwan.