Foundry chip manufacturing demand declines – except in China

Foundry chip manufacturing demand declines – except in China

Market news |
The pure-play foundry market declined in 2019 to US$56.875 billion, down 1.6 percent from $57.805 billion in 2018, according to IC Insights.
By Peter Clarke


That 2018 figure was itself a downward revision from the $59.02 billion pure-play foundry market IC Insights had forecast for 2018 in September 2018 (see China, cryptocurrencies drive pure-play foundry growth).

All the world’s main regions saw declines in their foundry markets with the exception of China, which showed growth of 6 percent. However, the European and Japanese pure-play foundry markets each showed a double-digit percentage decline in 2019. Elsewhere the Asia-Pacific market was only marginally down and the Americas region was down by 2 percent.

China’s total share of the 2018 pure-play foundry market jumped by five percentage points as compared to 2017 to 19 percent, exceeding the share held by the rest of the Asia-Pacific region by five points. However, in 2019, the US-China trade war slowed economic growth in China and the country’s share of the foundry market increased only one percentage point last year to 20 percent.

Pure-play semiconductor foundry market by region in 2018, 2019. Source: IC Insights.

In total, pure-play foundry sales in China jumped by 42 percent in 2018 to $10.7 billion, more than 8x the 5 percent increase for the total pure-play foundry market that year. 

In 2019, Taiwan-based pure-play foundry TSMC stated that about 25 percent of its 400-plus customers are based in China. TSMC and UMC each registered double-digit percentage sales rises to China last year.  UMC showed the highest sales increase into China with a 19 percent jump. 

This increase was driven by the continued ramp up of its 300mm Fab 12X located in Xiamen, China, which opened in late 2016 and has a current capacity of about 22.7k 300mm wafers per month.  In contrast, it appears that many of China-based SMIC’s Chinese customers encountered slow business conditions. SMIC’s 2019 sales in China dropped by 8 percent as compared to a total company sales decline of 7 percent last year.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

China, cryptocurrencies drive pure-play foundry growth

Foundry revenue will be hit by US-China trade dispute

US lobbied hard to deny China EUV lithography

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