Foundry revenue will be hit by US-China trade dispute

September 05, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Foundry revenue will be hit by US-China trade dispute
Global foundry revenue will increase in the third quarter by 13 percent sequentially but will still be weaker than seasonal due to the US-China trade dispute, according to market research firm TrendForce.

The foundry market has been significantly impacted by the escalation of the US-China trade dispute with rising tariffs on both sides affecting the consumer electronics market and depressing demand for smartphones, notebook and tablet computers and televisions and more. Several Chinese companies have been put on the US entity list, most notably Huawei, the largest communications equipment company in the world. For these reasons foundries are giving low guidance for their sales during 2H19.

Nonetheless the 3Q19 foundry market will be stronger than in the first half due to seasonal peak. TSMC, Samsung, and Globalfoundries will again take first, second, and third place respectively in the revenue ranking, TrendForce said.

Top ten foundries ranked by forecast 3Q19 revenue ($millions). Source: TrendForce.

Of the top ten only TSMC and Samsung are set to grow revenues and market share on a year-on-year basis. All the rest will see a contraction and lose market share, TrendForce predicts.

TSMC's revenue will be driven by the positive seasonality in 2H19, but the market leader's growth will be lower compared with 2H18 due to the uncertainties around the US-China trade disputes. TrendForce said it expects the rebound in the semiconductor market during 2H19 to be significantly weaker compared with the seasonal average.

TrendForce said TSMC has been very successful at selling its 7nm manufacturing process to customers such as Apple, HiSilicon, Qualcomm and AMD and that the manufacturing utilization rate is approaching 100 percent. But TSMC is also retaining sales of its legacy processes. TSMC is expected to achieve YoY growth in 3Q19 of about 7 percent. Samsung’s foundry business is also expected to do well by tapping into in-house demand.

Additionally, Samsung has benefitted from the releases of 5G smartphones. Samsung has been using chips produced in-house for its 5G equipment offerings and has used its 10nm process to make Qualcomm's X50 5G modem IC. Huawei is using HiSilicon (in-house) chips for all its 5G offerings which are produced by TSMC. Supported by the 5G demand, Samsung’s foundry revenue in 3Q19 is projected to grow by about 3.3 percent YoY.

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