[News] China’s Chip Production Capacity Reportedly Set to Grow 60% in 3 Years, Doubling in 5 Years

2024-01-15 Semiconductors editor

According to a report from IJIWEI, research by Barclays analysts indicates that China’s chip manufacturing capacity is expected to more than double within the next 5 to 7 years, surpassing market expectations significantly. The analysis of 48 chip manufacturers with production facilities in China suggests that 60% of the expected additional capacity may come online within the next 3 years.

TrendForce statistics reveal that, excluding 7 dormant wafer fabs, China currently has 44 wafer fabs, with 25 of them being 12-inch facilities, 4 of them 6-inch, and 15 8-inch wafer fabs/lines. Additionally, there are 22 wafer fabs under construction, with 15 of them being 12-inch facilities and 8 being 8-inch wafer fabs.

Companies like SMIC, Nexchip, CXMT and Silan plan to construct 10 more wafer fabs, including 9 12-inch and 1 8-inch wafer fab, by the end of 2024, bringing the total to 32 large-scale wafer fabs, all focusing on mature processes.

Chinese firms have accelerated the procurement of crucial chip manufacturing equipment to support capacity expansion. According to the previous report from South China Morning Post, the import value of lithography equipment from the Netherlands, a primary exporter, surged by 1050%, reflecting substantial orders for semiconductor equipment from China in 2023.

Barclays analysts suggest that most of the new capacity will be used for producing chips using older technologies. These mature semiconductors (28nm and above) lag behind the most advanced chips by at least a decade but are widely used in household appliances and automotive systems.

While these chips could theoretically lead to a market oversupply, Barclays believes it will take several years, possibly as early as 2026, depending on quality and any new trade restrictions.

Earlier, TrendForce released statistics projecting a global ratio of mature (>28nm) to advanced (<16nm) processes around 7:3 from 2023 to 2027. With China’s mature process capacity expected to grow from 29% to 33% by 2027, driven by policies promoting local production, giants like SMIC and HuaHong Group are anticipated to lead the charge, potentially causing a flood of mature processes into the global market and triggering a price war.

TrendForce notes that as China’s mature process capacities emerge, localization trends for Driver IC, CIS/ISP, and Power Discretes will become more pronounced, leading to risks of client attrition and pricing pressures for second and third-tier foundries with similar processes.

Please note that this article cites information from IJIWEI