China taking automotive MEMS consumption lead

September 23, 2011 — Implementing vehicle safety and pollution control mandates on its large driving population, China became the world’s fastest-growing country for automotive microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sales, according to a new IHS iSuppli Automotive MEMS Market Brief.

Also read: 2012 sees automotive sensor market back to healthy growth track

China’s automotive MEMS market will expand to $387.9 million in 2015, up from $194.3 million in 2010 (see the figure), equalling a 5-year compound annual growth rate of 14.8%. The worldwide average is 9.0%.

The proliferation of auto MEMS in China comes from an increase in MEMS per vehicle, government mandates for sensors, and China’s booming car sales, said Richard Dixon, senior analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS. Compared to the worldwide average number of sensors per car at 9.2 in 2010, vehicles in China have five. But China’s number will double to 10 by 2015, accelerated by the increased deployment of airbags and tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). The use of basic engine sensors to lower carbon emissions in cars also will be a factor contributing to automotive MEMS growth in China, especially as the country adopts European-style regulations.

Other applications include airbag deployment, silicon MEMS manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensors, adaptive front headlights, brake assist, adaptive cruise control, and the currently underdeveloped electronic stability control integration. Government mandates could spike consumption for these products.

Production of passenger cars for the Chinese market is set to increase to 22.2 million units in 2015, up from 16.3 million in 2010. Find out more in Automotive MEMS sensors recalculating for growth after 2010-2011 disruptions.

Official government recommendations have set a national standard in China for TPMS, which should have come into effect during July but will ramp up in mid-2012. China’s prominent role in implementing TPMS for its vehicles will accelerate the global TPMS market to a fitment rate of 73% by 2015.

China is not the biggest automotive MEMS sensor consumer: that title over the 5-yr period goes to North America, followed by Europe, then China, and then Japan. Global revenue for the products will rise 50% in this time to hit $2.9 billion in 2015.

The most prominent player in the Chinese automotive MEMS sector is German manufacturer Bosch GmbH, whose MAP shipments to the country soared in 2010. Bosch also has cemented a deal with Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor Inc. to offer an airbag reference platform to help newly rising markets in the Asian region.

Prior to 2010, a high-profile deal had been sealed between Analog Devices Inc. and Infineon Technologies to provide sensors and other semiconductors needed for an airbag hardware design platform, which sought to reduce the time-to-market efforts of Tier 1 companies in what was then the emerging market of China.

Learn more in 2012 sees automotive sensor market back to healthy growth track

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