TSMC is not only strong in technology, but also in production capacity.

When we talk about TSMC, we often talk about their technical superiority, but in fact, TSMC also has obvious advantages in terms of production capacity.

According to the latest report from ICinsights, as of December 2020, in each of the three wafer size categories, only TSMC (the world’s largest foundry) has been listed as the wafer capacity leader. Data show that it had the largest 200mm wafer capacity last year, ranking second in 300mm wafer capacity, second only to Samsung. As you can see from the figure below, TSMC is also the only manufacturer that can be ranked in all ten of the three categories.

  TSMC is not only strong in technology, but also in production capacity.

This is not surprising, because the 300mm statistics only include DRAM and NAND flash suppliers, such as Samsung, Micron, SK Hynix and Kioxia/WD; and the world’s four largest pure-play foundries TSMC, GlobalFoundries, UMC and Powerchip (including Nexchip) and Intel, the largest microprocessor manufacturer in the industry. The ICs they manufacture can amortize the manufacturing cost of each chip to the greatest extent by using the largest wafers.

In addition, they have the ability to continue to invest heavily in new and improved 300mm fab capacity.

When it comes to wafer capacity in the 200mm size category, leaders include pure-play foundries and manufacturers that emphasize analog/mixed-signal ICs and microcontrollers.

The ranking of smaller wafer sizes (≤150mm) includes a group of more diversified companies, two of which are Chinese companies. CR Micro and Silan Microelectronics, they both have very large 150mm wafer fabs, which are mainly used to produce analog/mixed-signal ICs, power devices and discrete semiconductors.

STMicroelectronics used to produce a large number of 150mm wafers at its wafer fab in Singapore for the production of ICs, but the company has reorganized its wafer fab business there in recent years. One fab has been greatly modified to manufacture MEMS-based microfluidic products (such as inkjet heads, lab-on-a-chip equipment, etc.), while other fabs have been upgraded to handle 200mm wafers.

  

As the industry shifts IC manufacturing to larger wafers in larger fabs, the number of IC manufacturers continues to decrease. Research on global wafer production capacity shows that as of December 2020, a total of 63 companies own and operate a 200mm chip factory (Figure 2). There are 28 companies that own and operate 300mm fabs. In addition, among these manufacturers, the distribution of 300mm wafer production capacity is the top priority, and the five largest manufacturers control approximately three-quarters (74%) of the global 300mm IC production capacity.

 

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