An increasing percentage of the world’s capacity is getting concentrated in the hands of the largest producers.
Only five semiconductor companies hold 53 percent of total global wafer capacity, according to research firm IC Insights. In 2019, each company had capacity of more than 1,000,000 wafer starts per month.
In contrast, the top five capacity leaders in 2009 held 36 percent of worldwide capacity. Capacity at other semiconductor leaders, including Intel (817K wafers/month), UMC (753K wafers/month), GlobalFoundries, Texas Instruments, and STMicro, fell off rapidly from the top five.
IC Insights global wafer capacity research found:
As of December 2019, Samsung had the most installed wafer capacity with 2.9 million 200mm-equivalent wafers per month. That represented 15.0 percent of the world’s total capacity and about two-thirds of it was used for the fabrication of DRAM and NAND flash memory devices. Major construction projects underway include large new fabs at its sites in Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek, Korea, and in Xi’an, China.
Second in line was TSMC, the largest pure-play foundry in the world, with about 2.5 million wafers per month capacity, or 12.8 percent of total worldwide capacity. The company has been adding a new facility at its Fab 15 complex (the Phase 9/Phase 10 building) in Taichung, Taiwan, and building a new fab (Fab 18) near its Fab 14 complex in Tainan, Taiwan
Micron had the third largest amount of capacity at the end of 2019 with a little more than 1.8 million wafers, or 9.4 percent of worldwide capacity. Micron’s growth in capacity for 2019 was boosted by the opening of a new 300mm wafer fab at its site in Singapore. The company also acquired Intel’s share of their IM Flash joint-venture fab in Lehi, Utah. In 2020, Micron plans to open a second fab in Manassas, Virginia.
The fourth largest capacity holder at the end of 2019 was SK Hynix with a monthly wafer capacity of nearly 1.8 million wafers (8.9 percent of total worldwide capacity). More than 80 percent of it was used to make DRAM and NAND flash chips. In 2019, the company completed construction on its new M15 wafer fab in Cheongju, Korea, and a new fab (C2F) at its site in Wuxi, China. Its next big fab project is Fab M16 at its site in Icheon, Korea.
Rounding out the top 5 companies was memory IC supplier Kioxia (formerly Toshiba Memory) with 1.4 million wafers/month (7.2 percent of total worldwide capacity), including a substantial amount of NAND flash memory capacity for its fab investment and technology development partner Western Digital. The capacity for Toshiba Electronic Devices is not included in the Kioxia numbers.
The industry’s five biggest pure-play foundries — TSMC, GlobalFoundries, UMC, SMIC, and Powerchip (including Nexchip) — are each ranked among the top 12 capacity leaders. In total, these five foundries had a combined capacity of about 4.8 million wafers per month as of December 2019, representing about 24 percent of the total fab capacity in the world.
IC Insights’ Global Wafer Capacity 2020-2024 report includes a ranking of the 25 largest wafer capacity leaders in terms of monthly installed capacity in 200mm-equivalents as of December 2019. It also assesses the IC industry’s capacity by wafer size, minimum process geometry, technology type, geographic region, and device type through 2024. The report includes detailed profiles of the companies with the greatest fab capacity and gives comprehensive specifications on existing wafer fab facilities.