[News] Explore the Foundry Landscape in Singapore as UMC’s Plant Nears Completion Mid-Year

Recent reports have suggested that UMC’s new facility in Singapore is set to be completed by mid-2024, with initial production expected to commence in early 2025.

UMC has announced that, in response to the demand for capacity expansion, the board of directors has approved a capital expenditure execution plan of USD 39.8 million. The first phase of the new facility is planned to have a monthly production capacity of 30,000 wafers, offering 22/28nm processes, with a total investment of USD 5 billion.

Semiconductor Companies Target Singapore

Influenced by complex international situations and other factors, the global semiconductor supply chain is undergoing a shift, with high expectations placed on the Southeast Asian region, particularly Singapore.

In the wafer manufacturing sector, IDM companies like Micron, Infineon, NXP Semiconductors, STMicroelectronics, and others, along with foundry enterprises like GlobalFoundries, UMC, and Vanguard International Semiconductor(VIS) are investing in building facilities in Singapore.

In 2010, GlobalFoundries acquired Singapore’s Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and took over its fab. In September 2023, GlobalFoundries announced the official launch of its USD 4 billion investment in expanding the manufacturing plant in Singapore, further expanding its global production capacity.

The expanded fab is projected to produce an additional 450,000 300mm wafers annually, raising GlobalFoundries’ total production capacity in Singapore to approximately 1.5 million 300mm wafers per year.

UMC has been operating its 12-inch fab in Singapore for over 20 years. In February 2022, UMC announced that its board of directors approved plans to expand a new advanced fab in the Fab12i campus in Singapore.

At that time, UMC anticipated that the new facility would commence production at the end of 2024. The latest updates indicate that the new facility is expected to begin production in early 2025.

VIS currently operates an 8-inch fab in Singapore. In October 2023, media reports indicated that VIS plans to establish its first 12-inch fab in Singapore. This facility is primarily intended to meet the demand for automotive chips. The investment for this project is estimated to be at least USD 2 billion, and it is anticipated to produce 28nm chips.

Continuous Expansion in Foundry Capacity

Despite the sluggish demand in the consumer electronics market, the pace of expansion for foundries remains unaffected.

Covering 2022 to 2024, the World Fab Forecast report has shown that the global semiconductor industry plans to begin operation of 82 new volume fabs, including 11 projects in 2023 and 42 projects in 2024 spanning wafer sizes ranging from 300mm to 100mm.

Among the newly added capacity, China is expected to experience rapid growth, securing the top position, followed by Taiwan, maintaining the second position. Subsequently, the rankings include South Korea, Japan, the Americas, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

According to TrendForce‘s statistics, the number of foundries in China has reached 44 and is expected to increase by 32 in the future, mainly focusing on mature nodes.

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(Photo credit: UMC)

Please note that this article cites information from DRAMeXchange


[News] Latest Financial Reports of the Global Seven Foundries – How Will the Next Stage Develop?

Recently, the seven major foundries —TSMC, GlobalFoundries, UMC, SMIC, Hua Hong Semiconductor, VIS, and PSMC—have successively released their third-quarter financial reports and held performance briefings to explain the semiconductor industry’s business climate and the outlook for the next stage.

Overall, in the third quarter, both the revenue and net profit of the seven foundries showed a YoY decline compared to the same period last year. From the perspective of capacity utilization and foundry pricing, except for TSMC benefiting from advanced processes, seeing a rebound in capacity utilization and stable pricing, the other six all experienced declines in both data.

Recent news on foundry pricing and capacity utilization has been continuous. This article will take a closer look at the data of the above seven major foundries and the latest market dynamics to glimpse into the fourth quarter of this year and the trends in foundry services next year.

How did the seven foundries perform in Q3, and what about their capacity utilization?


In the third quarter, TSMC’s consolidated revenue was TWD 546.73 billion, approximately USD 1.731 billion, a YoY decrease of 10.8% but a QoQ increase of 13.7%. The net profit for the third quarter was TWD 211 billion, approximately  USD 6.677 billion, a YoY decrease of 25.0%, but a QoQ increase of 16.0%. TSMC expects fourth-quarter sales to be USD 18.8~19.6 billion, with a gross profit margin of 51.5% to 53.5%.

In the first and second quarters of this year, it was said that TSMC’s 7nm capacity utilization rate had dropped to below 50%. However, in the second half of the year, benefiting from Apple expanding its new product lineup and companies like Nvidia and Qualcomm entering the 3nm era in the second half of 2024, the industry estimates that TSMC’s 7/6nm capacity utilization will hold at around 70% by the end of this year, and 5/4nm will be close to 80%, with a monthly production capacity of about 60,000~70,000 wafers by the end of this year.


GlobalFoundries’ Q3 revenue decreased by 11% to $1.85 billion, and the net profit was USD 249 million, lower than the USD 337 million in the same period last year. GlobalFoundries CEO Thomas Caulfield stated in the financial report, “although the global economic and geopolitical landscape remains uncertain, we are collaborating closely with our customers to support their efforts to reduce inventory levels.”


UMC’s consolidated revenue for Q3 was USD 1.77 billion, a 1.37% increase compared to the second quarter but a 24.3% decrease compared to the third quarter of 2022. The gross profit margin for the third quarter was 35.9%, and the net profit was USD 495 million.

UMC’s utilization showed a significant decline during the second and third quarters, with its capacity utilization dropping from 71% in the second quarter to 67% in the third quarter, according to the company.

Looking ahead, UMC Chairman Jason Wang stated that short-term demand in the computer and communication sectors is gradually picking up in the fourth quarter, and the automotive market remains challenging. Customers continue to manage inventory levels cautiously, and the expected utilization in the fourth quarter is about 61% to 63%, with a QoQ decrease of about 5%, average selling prices remaining stable, and a gross profit margin of about 31% to 33%.


SMIC’s Q3 revenue was USD 1.62 billion, a YoY decrease of 15.0% but a QoQ increase of 3.9%. Net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company was CNY 678 million (approximately USD 95 million), a YoY decrease of 78.41% and a QoQ decrease of 51.81%.

In terms of production capacity, SMIC’s Q3 capacity was approximately 795,750 8-inch equivalent wafers (an increase of 41,500 8-inch equivalent wafers compared to the second quarter’s 754,250 wafers), with a capacity utilization rate of 77.1%.

Looking to the fourth quarter, SMIC expects sales revenue to increase by 1% to 3% QoQ, and the gross profit margin will continue to bear the pressure from new capacity depreciation, expected to be between 16% and 18%.

Hua Hong Semiconductor

Hua Hong’s Q3 revenue was s USD 568.5 million, a YoY decrease of 5.13% and a QoQ decrease of 8.08%. Net profit attributable to parent company was USD 95.83 million, a YoY decrease of 86.36% and a QoQ decrease of 82.40%.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of 2023, Hua Hong expects sales revenue to be between USD 450~500 million, with a gross profit margin of about 2% to 5%.

In terms of production capacity, as of the end of the third quarter, Hua Hong Semiconductor’s equivalent 8-inch wafer monthly production capacity increased to 358,000 wafers, with an overall capacity utilization rate of 86.8%.

VIS (Vanguard International Semiconductor)

In the third quarter, VIS’s consolidated revenue was TWD 10.557 billion, approximately USD 334 million, an increase of 7.1% QoQ.

VIS’s outlook is relatively conservative. The company expects the semiconductor supply chain to cautiously control inventory in the fourth quarter. Although the adjustment of consumer electronics inventory is nearing completion, adjustments in the automotive and industrial sectors are later. The company expects a significant adjustment in the fourth quarter, with an estimated QoQ decrease of 8% to 10% in wafer shipments, a QoQ decrease in capacity utilization in the mid-single digits, between 55% and 60%. The average selling price (ASP) of products is estimated to decrease by 2% or less per quarter, and the gross profit margin will continue to decline to between 22% and 24%.

In recent information revealed by the supply chain regarding foundry pricing, VIS might experience a pricing decline of up to 5% in the second half of the year. Big clients may even have the opportunity to negotiate a discount of up to 10%. This trend is expected to continue into the first quarter of next year, with a further reduction, possibly moving from single-digit to double-digit percentages.


Q3 financial reports from PSMC show that, impacted by the decline in both capacity utilization and selling prices, the third-quarter main business recorded an expanded loss of TWD 1.408 billion (approximately USD 44.59 million)) and the after-tax net profit turned into a net loss of TWD 334 million(approximately USD 10 million).

PSMC General Manager Brian Shieh revealed that the market conditions in the third quarter still faced headwinds. To maintain competitiveness, PSMC has reduced prices to customers by about 4% to 5%.

It is reported that PSMC’s third-quarter capacity utilization is around 60%, and the gross profit margin is also impacted by idle capacity losses, dropping to 9.2%.

Regarding future demand, Shieh stated that the supply chain has now descended to a reasonable level, with market demand appearing in areas such as mobile driver ICs and surveillance camera CIS components. Visibility is expected to extend to around one quarter, so he is optimistic that PSMC’s fourth-quarter operations will grow by around mid-single digits.

The overall market sentiment is gradually clearing in anticipation of inventory corrections.

In general, as the fourth quarter is coming to an end, most companies still hold conservative views. In the consumer electronics field, such as PCs and smartphones, inventory adjustments have gradually reached the end, and some have already enjoyed the benefits of an upturn. However, inventory adjustments for automotive electronics and industrial applications are expected to lag, and this downturn is expected to be extended.

Among them, the views of TSMC and SMIC are worth noting. TSMC stated that customer inventory digestion will continue into the fourth quarter. Regarding the automotive and industrial platforms and AI businesses that TSMC has recently actively sought to expand, TSMC President C.C. Wei warned that the demand for AI is “not enough to offset” the weakening demand for chips in consumer electronic products on its earnings call in October.

Haijun Zhao, co-CEO of SMIC, stated that in the fields of smartphone and industrial control, Chinese customers have basically reached a balanced inventory level. However, European and American customers are still at historically high levels. Secondly, the relevant inventory of automotive products has begun to be on the high side, causing customers to be alert to market corrections, and orders are quickly tightening. Additionally, there are signs of a recovery in the third quarter in the smartphone terminal market, and the industry. As a whole, he believes that there will be a rebound in overall consumer electronics next year.

Regarding whether the global semiconductor foundry industry is slowly recovering from a downturn, TrendForce pointed out that in 2023, terminal demand is gradually recovering, and AI and automotive demand are maintaining growth momentum. AI servers are expected to grow by more than 37% in the next three years, and electric vehicles with the support of autonomous driving will have a compound annual growth rate of 30% to 40% in the next three years. Smartphones are expected to end their downward trend in 2024, with a growth rate of 2.9%, and servers will have a growth rate of 2.3%, overall leading to an increase in demand for foundry.

On the other hand, 8-inch wafer capacity utilization rate of foundries will gradually rise in 2024. The 8-inch production line produces products such as MOSFET, IGBT, and PMIC will still focus on 12-inch wafers capacity expansion in the next few years. In addition to adopting solutions from existing chip suppliers, the trend of customized chips has also emerged, and high-speed computing applications have become the biggest driving force for advanced processes. TrendForce predicts that the global foundry industry will experience a slight increase in 2024, reaching a growth rate of 6.4%.


[News] TSMC Reportedly Allocates Over 200 R&D Personnel for Advancements in Silicon Photonics

The Silicon Photonics topic is heating up as major companies race to address the data transfer speed between chips. Intel’s Silicon Photonics project has a leading advantage, while TSMC is collaborating with major customers Nvidia and Broadcom, investing 200 research and development personnel. They aim to complete the project in the second half of 2024, with production set to begin in 2025.

According to Taiwan’s Commercial Times, Luo Huaijia, the Executive Director of the Photonics Industry and Technology Development Association (PIDA) in Taiwan, stated that silicon photonics technology has always been a crucial focus in the field of photonics. Photonics products are evolving towards being compact, lightweight, energy-efficient, and power-saving.

Among Taiwan’s semiconductor fabs, TSMC stands out with its COUPE, which provides heterogeneous integration of photonic integrated circuits (PIC) and electronic integrated circuits (EIC), reducing energy consumption by 40%. TSMC is rumored to deploy a 200-person R&D team, collaborating with international major clients for joint development. Consequently, following the completion of its Hsinchu plant, TSMC invested NT$90 billion in constructing a new packaging plant in Tongluo, Miaoli, recognizing the significant demand and potential in heterogeneous integration.

Luo Huaijia pointed out that silicon photonics uses semiconductor technology to create a platform with optical properties, with the goal of integrating light and telecommunications signals. This involves packaging traditional optical components, including optical waveguides, light-emitting elements, and transceiver modules, together, thus also involving heterogeneous packaging.

As early as 2002, Intel publicly conducted research in the field of “Silicon Photonics,” but at that time, the data volume could be handled with copper wire transmission. Luo Huaijia believes that with the exponential increase in AI computing power, data processing will start in the gigabyte range, prompting companies to invest heavily in development.

Luo Huaijia analyzed that currently, GlobalFoundries is likely the first company to provide wafer foundry services for manufacturing optical fiber transceivers, using FD-SOI technology integration solutions. Intel also currently offers a 400Gb/s optical fiber transceiver solution. In addition to their own ASICs or FPGAs, this technology is applied to Switch ICs. Intel even plans to expand its silicon photonics solution into the automotive market, using it in Mobileye’s optical radar by 2025.

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(Photo credit: ITRI)


Intel Cancels Tower Semiconductor Deal: TrendForce Analyzes Impact on Competitive Foundry Landscap

Intel Corporation today announced that it has mutually agreed with Tower Semiconductor to terminate its previously disclosed agreement  to acquire Tower due to the inability to obtain in a timely manner the regulatory approvals required under the merger agreement, dated Feb. 15, 2022. In accordance with the terms of the merger agreement and in connection with its termination, Intel will pay a termination fee of $353 million to Tower.

In response to this development, TrendForce provides the following analysis:

As previously mentioned by TrendForce, Intel’s active entry into the semiconductor foundry market has presented challenges. These include:

Diversification of Manufacturing Expertise: Intel, historically focused on manufacturing CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and peripheral I/O chips, lacks the specialized fabrication processes possessed by other foundries. The success of acquiring Tower to expand its product line and market presence remains crucial.

Operational Segmentation: Apart from financial divisions, the division of physical facilities and actual production capacity must be strategically managed. Successfully emulating models like AMD/GlobalFoundries or Samsung LSI/Samsung Foundry, where there is a clear distinction between foundry and client, is essential. Simultaneously, Intel faces challenges in preventing orders from its significant client, the Intel Design Department, from flowing outward.

The official termination of the Tower acquisition plan introduces greater uncertainties and challenges for Intel in the competitive foundry market. In an industry marked by heightened competition, having dominance in specialized process technologies and diversified production lines is pivotal for sustaining profitability amid industry downturns. Without the assistance of Tower’s established specialized processes, Intel’s strategic approach and technology development in the foundry business will be worth monitoring.

(Photo credit: Intel)


[News] Global Wafer Plants: Are Two More on the Horizon?

Leading semiconductor companies are making significant strides in global expansion with the announcement of two new fabrication facilities. TSMC is set to greenlight a factory in Germany, while GlobalFoundries plans to establish its first 12-inch wafer plant in Singapore.

TSMC’s Bold Move: Germany’s Green Light

TSMC from its presence in the USA, China (Shanghai and Nanjing), to Japan (Kumamoto City), TSMC’s global manufacturing footprint is expanding. Reuters reported on August 7 that TSMC’s board is inclined to approve the construction of a plant in Dresden, Germany. The German government pledges a substantial 5 billion euros (about $5.49 billion USD) to support the facility. However, the German Ministry of Economy refrains from commenting on the matter.

TSMC has been negotiating with the Saxony German state since 2021 to establish a collaborative FAB plant. In partnership with Bosch, Infineon, and Onsemi, TSMC aims to utilize the Dresden plant primarily for automotive chip production. Pending board approval, this venture could involve financing discussions with Berlin, ultimately requiring European Commission endorsement. TSMC, Intel, and Wolfspeed stand out among chip manufacturers seeking government assistance for European manufacturing ventures.

GlobalFoundries Poised to Build 12-Inch Wafer Plant in Singapore

According to, GlobalFoundries is set to make a substantial investment in the establishment of a 12-inch wafer fabrication plant in Singapore. The project’s funding could exceed NT$100 billion (approximately $3.2 billion USD). Reports suggest that this Singaporean facility will focus on producing 28-nanometer chips, with a potential completion date as early as 2026.

Industry experts note that GlobalFoundries’ move to set up a 12-inch facility in Singapore implies a significant shift in the competitive landscape. TSMC, UMC, PSMC, and GlobalFoundries – the four major semiconductor foundries – will all possess 12-inch production capabilities. Additionally, each of these companies has international expansion plans for such facilities. Notably, TSMC’s ventures span across the USA and Japan, UMC, and GlobalFoundries are both targeting Singapore, while PSMC’s strategy involves establishing a plant in Japan in collaboration with local partners.

Major Manufacturers Expand Against the Current Downturn

TSMC has been proactive in its expansion strategy, unveiling plans for ten new facilities in the past two years. These include 5 wafer plants and 2 advanced packaging facilities in Taiwan, alongside 3 overseas wafer plants. Despite the industry’s current challenges, TSMC’s expansion momentum remains strong, driven by a heightened focus on global manufacturing diversity.

TSMC is well aware of the potential risks tied to significant expansion efforts. In its latest annual report, the company acknowledges that expanding on a global scale demands substantial resources, highlighting possible challenges like rising costs, workforce shortages, disasters, land scarcity, cyber threats, government support, cultural differences, intellectual property protection, and tax variations.

Expanding during a semiconductor downturn has become a strategic approach for the foundry players. Typically, a fab construction takes 2 to 4 years, with equipment installation lasting 0.5 to 1 year and production ramp-up stretching 1 to 2 years. Looking ahead, semiconductor foundries are gearing up for a fresh wave of capacity release throughout 2024 and 2025.

Despite the industry’s ongoing slump, encouraging signs suggest that the downturn might be reaching its conclusion. Industry experts are cautiously optimistic, anticipating the arrival of the next upswing in the cycle.


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