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Chipmakers Enhance Share of International IC Wafer Capability

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Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), Micron, SK Hynix, and Kioxia/Western Digital (WD) elevated their share of the world’s silicon wafer capability to a complete of 57% by the tip of 2021, in keeping with market watcher Knometa Analysis. That share elevated by 1% from 2020 because the business turns into extra high heavy, Knometa mentioned in a report.

“The consolidation of IC producers has contributed to annual quantity modifications in capability being much less dramatic,” mentioned Knometa founder Trevor Yancey. “The discount within the variety of producers has led to higher total regulation of provide vs. demand. Overcapacity situations was extra frequent and pronounced when there have been many producers vying for extra market share.”

Consolidation advantages the businesses on the high however will increase dangers for his or her suppliers, in keeping with Knometa.

“Gear and supplies suppliers most likely carry probably the most potential threat due to the discount of their buyer base,” Yancey mentioned. “Fewer prospects imply these firms stand to lose some leverage in terms of pricing. And, there’s the enterprise sustainability threat related to having to depend on a really small variety of prospects or possibly even one buyer.”

A decade in the past, the highest 5 chipmakers accounted for about 40% of manufacturing capability.

Prime 5 world IC wafer capability leaders (Supply: Knometa Analysis) (Click on picture to enlarge)

The Leaders

In 2021, Samsung widened its lead because the business’s largest supply of fab capability. By the tip of 2021, Samsung held 19% of complete world IC wafer capability and 44% extra capability than TSMC. Samsung boosted its capital spending 45% in 2020, with a big enhance in accessible capability in 2021, in keeping with Knometa. South Korea’s largest firm spent most of its capability enlargement finances on a number of 300mm fab strains at its website in Pyeongtaek.

Utilizing the corporate’s 2017 capability as a base, Samsung’s output is anticipated to triple by 2026. Present capability tasks embrace a brand new $17 billion fab underneath building in Taylor, Texas, that can help the corporate’s sturdy push to broaden foundry companies for main–edge processes in competitors with TSMC.

Robust demand has spurred TSMC to begin an enormous enhance in capability over the following few years. Most of TSMC’s current enlargement is situated at its Fab 18 website in Tainan, Taiwan.

Chip shortages have additionally pushed TSMC to spice up output at mature know-how nodes, particularly 28nm, Knometa mentioned. To satisfy demand, the corporate is increasing its Fab 16 facility in China to double the capability there by mid–2023.

TSMC is presently planning three “greenfield” websites across the globe. The primary part contains building of a giant fab website (Fab 21) in Phoenix, Arizona, which is able to begin manufacturing of 300mm wafers in 2024. The $12 billion Fab 21 part 1 plant will make chips with 5nm know-how. In Kumamoto, Japan, TSMC partnered with Sony to construct a $7 billion 300mm fab that can open in 2024. In November 2021, the corporate introduced the choice of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as the location for one more fab advanced.

Micron has held again on capital spending to concentrate on upgrading current capability for extra superior processing capabilities. Nonetheless, the corporate made some further capability accessible in 2021 within the type of part 4 at Fab 15, part 2 at Fab 16, and an enlargement of its legacy merchandise fab in Virginia.

Micron plans to realize bit provide progress with node transitions by way of the center of the last decade. The corporate is concentrated on new applied sciences and gear that can allow it to extend chip manufacturing volumes by way of die shrinks for DRAM and continued 3D scaling for 3D NAND.

In consequence, the corporate is not going to undertake any main fab expansions within the subsequent couple years, Knometa mentioned. The subsequent large fab mission for Micron, introduced in October 2021, is the development of a brand new 300mm fab at its website in Hiroshima. This fab will open for manufacturing in 2024.

SK Hynix boosted its capital spending considerably in 2018 to construct new fabs in South Korea and China, however scaled again expenditures in 2019 and 2020, in keeping with Knometa. Fab M15 in Cheongju, South Korea, and Fab C2F in Wuxi, China, began operations in 2019 however ramping of capability and manufacturing on the fabs has been gradual. The corporate lifted its capex considerably in 2021, and that ought to translate to a bigger enhance in capability for 2022, in keeping with Knometa.

Building of SK Hynix’s latest fab, M16 in Icheon, South Korea, was completed in early 2021 and the corporate started operations within the fourth quarter of the 12 months.

In December 2021, SK Hynix took possession of Intel’s Fab 68 facility in Dalian, China. Nevertheless, the fab remains to be utilized by Intel to manufacture 3D NAND chips, so its capability on the finish of 2021 was not included as a part of SK Hynix. The acquisition of Intel’s NAND and SSD companies by SK Hynix is a a number of–stage transaction over a number of years and stipulates that Intel can use the fab for wafer fabrication till March 2025, when SK Hynix will full the acquisition.

Capability collectively owned by Kioxia and WD elevated on the lowest charge among the many high 5 firms in 2021. The companions are growing 3D NAND die manufacturing volumes extra by 3D scaling developments than by growing capability.

WD is assembly practically all its product provide wants by changing to new applied sciences. For 3D NAND, meaning growing NAND layer counts to realize a larger quantity of reminiscence storage per unit space.

Kioxia and WD have a brand new fab at their website in Yokkaichi, Japan, scheduled to start operations in early 2023. Like different fabs on the website, the Y7 fab might be in-built two phases. In April 2022, the companions began constructing a second fab at their website in Kitakami. The present K1 fab began manufacturing in 2020 and the brand new K2 fab is anticipated to begin up in 2024.


Intel was ranked 6th on the finish of 2021, and the corporate has remained in that spot since 2012 when it ranked 5th, in keeping with Knometa.

“It’s not shocking to me that Intel just isn’t within the high 5,” Yancey mentioned. “4 of the highest 5 are suppliers of NAND and DRAM, two segments that require enormous quantities of capability.”

There are a pair potentialities for Intel re–getting into the highest 5 throughout the subsequent couple years, in keeping with Knometa. An anticipated acquisition of Tower would convey Intel’s capability nearer to that of the Kioxia/WD fabs. Based mostly on the 12 months–finish 2021 numbers, the mixed capability of Intel and Tower was about 15% behind that of Kioxia/WD. Intel has some large fabs scheduled to open throughout the subsequent couple years, however so does Kioxia/WD, in keeping with Yancey.



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