wafer fab


[News] TSMC’s 7th Advanced Packaging and Testing Plant Likely to Settle in Yunlin or Chiayi

Following Intel’s move to split its outsourced foundry model, TSMC is gearing up to expand its advanced manufacturing processes in Taiwan, ready to face the competition head-on.

According to China Time’s report, following the equipment first tool-in at the 2nm fab in Baoshan scheduled for April next year, industry sources suggest a high likelihood of the 1.4nm fab being established in the second phase of the Central Taiwan Science Park.

Additionally, TSMC is actively expanding its CoWoS process and considering the construction of its 7th advanced packaging and testing plant in the central region, with Chiayi Science Park and Yunlin actively under consideration.

Semiconductor industry insiders point out that TSMC is beginning to feel the pressure, and this year, founder Morris Chang’s main concern regarding competition has shifted from Samsung to the resurgent Intel.

Starting from the second quarter of next year, Intel, a rival of TSMC, plans to separately disclose financial reports for chip development and Intel Foundry Services (IFS), implementing its internal foundry outsourcing model.

Intel’s move aims to protect the assets and know-how of third-party customers. Coupled with international chip design firms gradually releasing orders to Intel due to diversified supply chain concerns, it shows that Intel’s outsourcing strategy is gradually proving effective.

Intel’s recent successes in foundry processes, including the PowerVia backside power delivery technology, glass substrates and Foveros Direct for advanced packaging.

According to TrendForce’s 3Q23 Ranking of  Global Top10 Foundries by Revenue, Intel’s foundry business has entered the global top 10 for the first time, ranking ninth with the industry’s fastest quarterly growth.

Confronted with growing competition from Intel, TSMC is intensifying its efforts and accelerating the construction of advanced process production capacity. The recent expansion plans are becoming clearer, with the 1.4nm fab likely located in the second phase of the Central Taiwan Science Park, aligning with the ongoing increase in demand for advanced packaging.

Read more

(Photo credit: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from China Times


[News] STMicroelectronics to Invest EUR 5 Billion in New SiC Wafer Fab

STMicroelectronics, following its EUR 7.5 billion wafer fab project with GlobalFoundries in Crolles, France. is set to invest EUR 5 billion in building a new SiC super semiconductor wafer fab in Catania, Sicily, Italy. The fab in Italy will specialize in producing SiC chips, a pivotal technology for electric vehicles with substantial growth potential, according to French media L’Usine Nouvelle on November 26th,

STMicroelectronics competitively plans to transition to 8-inch wafers starting from 2024. The company will integrate Soitec’s SmartSiC technology to enhance efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Simultaneously, STMicroelectronics aims to increase capacity, achieve internal manufacturing, and collaborate with Chinese firm Sanan Optoelectronics to raise SiC chip-related revenue from the expected USD 1.2 billion in 2023 to USD 5 billion by 2030.

On June 7th earlier this year, STMicroelectronics and Sanan Optoelectronics announced a joint venture to establish a new 8-inch SiC device fab in Chongqing, China, with an anticipated total investment of USD 3.2 billion.

To ensure the successful implementation of this extensive investment plan, Sanan Optoelectronics said to utilize its self-developed SiC substrate process to construct and operate a new 8-inch SiC substrate fab independently.

TrendForce: over 90% SiC market share by major global players        

According to TrendForce, the SiC industry is currently dominated by 6-inch substrates, holding up to 80% market share, while 8-inch substrates only account for 1%. Transitioning to larger 8-inch substrates is a key strategy for further reducing SiC device costs.

8-inch SiC substrates offer significant cost advantages than 6-inch substrates. The industry’s major players in China, including SEMISiC, Jingsheng Mechanical & Electrical Co., Ltd. (JSG), Summit Crystal, Synlight Semiconductor, KY Semiconductor, and IV-SemiteC, are advancing the development of 8-inch SiC substrates. This shift from the approximately 45% of total production costs associated with substrates is expected to facilitate the broader adoption of SiC devices and create a positive cycle for major companies.

Not only Chinese companies but also international semiconductor giants like Infineon Technologies and Onsemi are actively vying for a share of the market. Infineon has already prepared the first batch of 8-inch wafer samples in its fab and plans to convert them into electronic samples soon, with mass production applications scheduled before 2030. International device companies like Onsemi and ROHM have also outlined development plans for 8-inch SiC wafers.

Currently, major companies hold over 90% of the market share, intensifying competition. A slowdown in progress could provide opportunities for followers. According to TrendForce, the market share of the top 5 SiC power semiconductor players in 2022 was dominated by STMicroelectronics (36.5%), Infineon (17.9%), Wolfspeed (16.3%), Onsemi (11.6%), and ROHM (8.1%), leaving the remaining companies with only 9.6%.

(Image: STMicroelectronics)

Explore More


[News] TSMC’s Fab in Germany Progress Reports Potential Setback in Manager Selection?

As TSMC speed up its global expansion, the developments in its overseas fabs and the appointments of key leaders are under intense scrutiny. According to reports from DeepTech’s Voice, TSMC is said to choose Ray Chuang as the General Manager/CEO for its Fab in Germany. Chuang is considered a rising star promoted from the 18A fab manager to Vice President of Fab Operations I in this year.

Ray Chuang, a TSMC veteran since 1997, originally served as the senior manager of the 18A fab, showcasing expertise in various process technologies. Notably, he successfully led teams in the mass production of N5 and N4 process. He was elevated to Vice President of the Fab Operations I in May, 2023.

The unveiling of fab managers for TSMC’s overseas sites is progressing. In addition to the already disclosed appointments of Rick Cassidy and Dr. Y.L. Wang as Chairman and CEO of the Arizona fab, respectively, the Japanese fab (JASM) will see Vice President Y.H. Liaw, responsible for mature process production, taking the helm as CEO, according to the press release from Taiwan OCAC.

Potential Impacts May Postpone TSMC’s Fab in Germany Progress

TSMC’s plan includes the establishment of a subsidiary, European Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (ESMC) GmbH, set to build a fab in Dresden, eastern Germany. The total investment stands at EUR 10 billion, with an expected subsidy of about EUR 5 billion from the German government. Noteworthy partners in this venture, including Infineon, NXP, and Bosch, will each hold a 10% stake, while TSMC retains substantial control with over 50% ownership. The fab’s primary focus will be on producing automotive chips using 28nm/22nm processes, with an estimated capacity of 30,000 to 50,000 wafers.

The fab in Germany was initially expected to receive an EUR 5 billion subsidy, with production scheduled for 2027. However, a report from Reuters on November 23rd highlighted a ruling by the Germany’s Constitutional court that the German government’s re-location of EUR 60 billion from the pandemic fund to the climate transition fund was unconstitutional. Consequently, the German Ministry of Finance issued an emergency notice, freezing spending plans across various federal budgets. This unexpected move may impact the subsidies initially earmarked for TSMC fab in Germany.

Insights from TrendForce indicate that ESMC’s total planned production capacity is approximately 40Kwspm. The fab is set to focus on 28/22nm and 16/12nm processes, with groundbreaking expected in the latter half of 2024 and full-scale production in 2027. Forecast from TrendForce suggest that TSMC’s overseas capacity share (includes China), will rise from 9% in 2023 to 15% by 2027.
(Image: TSMC)

Explore more


China Strives to Break Through U.S. Restrictions in Mature Processes, Aiming for Over 30% Global Share by 2027

Despite the U.S. sanction on the semiconductor industry in China, China is still positively looking for further development.

Following our discussion on the shifts of Chinese wafer fabs in the previous article (China’s Wafer Fabs Hits 44 with Future Expansion 32, Mainly Targeting on The Mature Process), this article focuses on the application of 8-inch and 12-inch wafers, as well as provides detailed account of Chinese foundries’ strategic positioning in the landscape.

From a cost perspective, producing a 12-inch wafer incurs approximately 50% more cost than an 8-inch wafer. However, the chip output from a 12-inch wafer is nearly triple that of an 8-inch wafer, leading to a cost reduction of roughly 30% per chip. As manufacturing processes improve and yields increase, the cost of 12-inch wafers is expected to further decline in the future.

In terms of applications, a clear distinction emerges between 12-inch and 8-inch wafers. The versatility of 12-inch wafers is evident, covering a broad range of practical applications. As depicted in the table below, 8-inch wafers are primarily utilized for mature and specialized processes, focusing on the 0.13-90nm range.

8-inch wafers’ downstream applications are concentrated in industrial, mobile, and automotive sectors, encompassing power devices, power management chips, non-volatile memory, MEMS, display driver ICs, and fingerprint recognition chips, among others. The surging demand for power devices in automotive electronics and industrial applications has been a key driver for recent production expansions.

Currently, the market demand for 8-inch wafers remains robust. However, there is a trend of decreasing 8-inch production lines in the market. This shift is primarily due to the industry’s mainstream adoption of 12-inch wafers. Given the significant capital required to establish 12-inch wafer fabs (often exceeding billions of US dollars), many foundries are reevaluating their 8-inch wafer production lines. These lines face challenges such as outdated equipment (mostly sourced from the second-hand market), upgrades difficulties, and lower returns compared to 12-inch wafers. Consequently, an increasing number of major companies are transitioning their focus from 8-inch to 12-inch wafers.

While the quantity of 8-inch wafer fabs is far less than that of 12-inch wafer fabs, their presence is significant. According to data from SEMI, China has maintained rapid development in 8-inch wafers. It is projected that by 2026, China’s market share in 8-inch wafers will increase to 22%, with a monthly production capacity reaching 1.7 million wafers, ranking first globally. By the end of 2025, companies including Huahong, Sien, Silan, Yangdong Microelectronic, GTA Semiconductor, SMEIIC, Zkjx, Hwdz, and Eaerkey are expected to establish a total of nine new 8-inch wafer fabs.

China’s Semiconductor Focus: 33% Mature Process Capacity by 2027

Based on product requirements, we can categorize semiconductor processes into specialty processes and logic processes. Logic processes further divide into mature processes (28nm and above) and advanced processes (nodes below 28nm, primarily 16/14nm and below).

Considering the current scenario, challenges in advanced process technology and high expenditures have confined major players in advanced processes to Intel, TSMC, and Samsung. This year, Samsung and TSMC announced the mass production of 3nm processes, marking the most advanced nodes currently available. Examining China’s situation, the semiconductor industry, having started relatively late, is currently focusing on mature and specialty processes due to factors like equipment and material limitations and changes in the international landscape.

It’s worth noting that, apart from Chinese wafer fabs intensively researching mature processes, many major companies have started to reverse their focus on mature processes in the past two years. Companies such as TSMC, Samsung, Intel, UMC, and GlobalFoundries are actively expanding their mature process capacities.

Among them, UMC’s bet on mature capacities is unprecedented. It became the world’s first wafer foundry to announce leaving research and development of advanced processes. Since 2018, UMC has strategically focused on improving the company’s return on investment, particularly targeting processes of 28nm and above.

According to TrendForce, the compound annual growth rate of global semiconductor foundry capacities from 2021 to 2024 is expected to reach 11%. 28nm capacity is expected to be 1.3 times that of 2022 by 2024, making it the most actively expanded node in mature processes. It is anticipated that more applications of specialty processes will transition to 28nm. Moreover, from 2021 to 2024, the global capacity of mature processes (28nm and above) is expected to maintain a stable share of over 75%. This indicates the potential and significance of positioning in the mature process and specialty process markets.

TrendForce predicts that, with the expansion of mature process capacities below 28nm, mature process capacities are expected to account for 70% of the top ten foundries’ capacities by 2027. China is expected to hold 33% of mature process capacities in 2027, with the possibility of continuous upward adjustments.

(Image: SMIC)



China’s Wafer Fabs Hits 44 with Future Expansion 32, Mainly Targeting on The Mature Process

On August 7th, HuaHong Group officially went public on the Sci-Tech Innovation Board Market, Shanghai Stock Exchange (STAR Market, SSE). Combined with the return of SMIC to A-shares (China’s domestic shares) in the past two years and Nexchip’s listing in May, it brings together the three major players in China’s foundry sector on the STAR Market. Additionally, SMEC, closely linked to SMIC, also went public on the STAR Market without turning a profit. Overall, China’s foundry industry is steadily gaining strength.

As per TrendForce’s latest research, challenges in the economic outlook and ongoing inventory issues this year have led to a slowdown in demand. This is particularly noticeable in the automotive and industrial control, where inventory has been piling up after short-term fulfillment. Fabless and other IDM inventory digestion have faced severe restrictions. IDM foundries, launching new capacities, are consolidating outsourced orders and once again reducing orders to foundries. In 2024, given the expected unfavorable economic environment, the overall recovery of capacity utilization poses challenges.

While Chinese foundries have not been immune to these challenges, the losses have been mitigated thanks to the boost in China’s import substitution policies on semiconductors. According to TrendForce, the global ratio of mature (>28nm) to advanced (<16nm) processes is projected to hover around 7:3 from 2023 to 2027. Propelled by policies and incentives promoting local production and domestic IC development, China’s mature process capacity is anticipated to grow from 29% this year to 33% by 2027. Leading the charge are giants like SMIC, HuaHong Group, and Nexchip.

Exploring China’s Wafer Foundries Landscape

According to TrendForce, excluding 7 temporarily suspended fabs, China currently operates 44 fabs (25 fabs in 12-inch, 4 fabs in 6-inch wafers, and 15 in 8-inch fabs and production lines), additionally, 22 fabs are under construction (15 fabs in 12-inch, and 8 fabs in 8-inch). In the future, SMIC, Nexchip, CXMT, and Silan plan to construct 10 fabs (9 fabs in 12-inch, and 1 fab in 8-inch). Overall, by the end of 2024, China aims to establish 32 large fabs, and all of them are about to focus on mature processes.

Reviewing the distribution of wafer foundries across China, the Yangtze Delta region hosts nearly half of the total, with significant concentrations in provinces like Shanghai, Wuxi, Beijing, Hefei, Chengdu, and Shenzhen.

Nearly 4.14 million wafer capacity in 12-inch will be ongoing per month in China until 2026

In terms of capacity, the statistics showed that China currently operates 31 fabs in 12-inch, including those under construction with fixed capacity for 12-inch. The total monthly capacity is approximately 1.189 million wafer capacity. Compared to the planned monthly capacity of 2.17 million wafer capacity, the capacity utilization of these fabs is close to 54.48%, still a significant room for expansion.

Considering construction and future planning, it is anticipated that China will add 24 fabs in 12-inch in the next five years, with a planned monthly capacity of 2.223 million wafer capacity. Assuming all planned 12-inch wafer foundries achieve full production, by the end of 2026, the total monthly capacity of 12-inch in China will exceed 4.14 million wafer capacity, marking a 248.19% increase compared to the current capacity utilization rate.

Explore more

  • Page 1
  • 2 page(s)
  • 8 result(s)