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


[News] TSMC’s CoWoS Demand Surges from NVIDIA, Apple, AMD, Broadcom, Marvell, Monthly Capacity Up 120% in 2024

The demand for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging is skyrocketing. Following NVIDIA’s expansion confirmation in October, there are reports in the industry that major clients like Apple, AMD, Broadcom, Marvell, and others are also placing additional orders with TSMC.

To meet the demands of these five major clients, TSMC is fast-tracking the expansion of CoWoS advanced packaging capacity. Next year, the monthly capacity will increase by about 20% more than the original doubling target, reaching 35,000 wafers, reported by UDN News.

TSMC has not commented on the capacity deployment for CoWoS advanced packaging. Industry sources believe that the substantial orders from TSMC’s major clients indicate a widespread growth in AI applications, driving the demand for chips such as GPU and AI accelerators.

In response to the continuous increase in AI demand, TSMC had previously announced the doubling of CoWoS advanced packaging capacity expansion for next year but did not disclose the monthly production capacity. Industry reports suggest that TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging capacity next year will not only double but will also increase by an additional 20% from the original target, resulting in a total monthly capacity of 35,000 wafers.

NVIDIA currently stands as the main large customer for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging, securing almost 60% of TSMC’s related capacity, which is used in its AI chips such as H100 and A100. Additionally, AMD’s latest AI chip products are in the mass production stage, and the upcoming MI300 chip, expected to launch next year, will adopt both SoIC and CoWoS advanced packaging.

At the same time, Xilinx, a subsidiary of AMD, has been a significant customer for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging. With the continuous growth in AI demand, not only Xilinx but also Broadcom has started increasing orders for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging capacity.

(Image: TSMC)

Explore more


[Insights] Polysilicon-Wafer Deal Deadlock, Cell & Module Prices Falling

In TrendForce’s latest solar energy pricing, it is revealed that upstream polysilicon and wafer transactions have reached a standstill, while downstream cell and module prices continue to decline.

  • Polysilicon

Polysilicon prices continue to decline throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for mono recharge polysilicon is RMB 70/KG, while mono dense polysilicon is priced at RMB 68/KG and N-type polysilicon is currently priced at RMB 75/KG.

In terms of trading, this week has shown a slight improvement compared to the stagnation of the previous week. Some small orders have been placed, but the majority of companies are still in the negotiation process. Additionally, there are ongoing discussions about transaction prices for polysilicon and crystal pulling.

Examining the price trends, there’s a notable divergence between leading manufacturers and second-tier manufacturers, with the current prices approaching the cost threshold for the latter and older capacity.

When we analyze the supply and demand dynamics, it becomes evident that as polysilicon prices continue to decline, downstream manufacturers are considering production cuts, and new production capacity might face the challenge of running at a loss right after starting operations.

Moreover, considering the projected oversupply in the future and the potential for prices to hit rock bottom, some manufacturers have realized that the profits from new production capacity may differ significantly from their expectations, prompting them to adjust their production schedules.

However, in the short term, polysilicon output is showing a month-on-month growth trend this quarter. As downstream demand decreases, polysilicon prices will likely continue to face pressure. Overall, this week has seen a decline in quoted polysilicon prices, and the price gap between N-type and P-type polysilicon continues to narrow.

  • Wafer

The prices of wafer have still reduced throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for M10 wafer is RMB 2.30/Pc, while G12 wafer is priced at RMB 3.30/Pc. The current cell prices are causing significant losses in the cell business, leading to a substantial reduction in activation rates.

The overall market turnover is currently sluggish. Additionally, the quoted prices only reflect the trend of declining wafer prices and may not accurately represent the actual transaction prices for spot goods.

On the supply side, wafer prices have continued to decline over the past two weeks. If the prices of different types of wafers keep dropping, manufacturers may find themselves in a situation where their costs exceed their selling prices.

Consequently, wafer production schedules have seen a significant reduction, forcing some second and third-tier manufacturers to maintain OEM business for meager profits. The current wafer inventory level has decreased to 1.9-2.1 billion pieces, and there are indications that prices are reaching a bottom in the market.

On the demand side, downstream cell manufacturers are gradually reducing their production schedules, and inventory issues have not been effectively resolved. As a result, cell manufacturers are becoming more cautious when it comes to purchasing wafers. This week, wafer prices have continued to decline, but the rate of decline will narrow with cost support.

However, considering the price pressure imposed by downstream consumers, their high inventory levels, and other factors, wafer prices have yet to stabilize and are likely to continue falling in the future.

  • Cell

Cell prices have still declined this week. The mainstream concluded price for M10 cell is RMB 0.48/W, while G12 cell is priced at RMB 0.52/W. The price of M10 mono TOPCon cell is RMB 0.49/W.

On the supply side, current cell inventory has remained high for more than seven days. Consequently, facing pressure from both the elevated inventory levels and downstream module manufacturers, cell prices have experienced a decline.

The current price of M10 P-type cells stands at 0.48 yuan per watt, which is approaching the production cost of leading integrated manufacturers. The reduction in cell production is the current scenario.

However, the shipment pressures haven’t been alleviated, and the price gap between N-type and P-type cells has narrowed, putting both types at risk of operating at a loss due to costs exceeding their prices. On the demand side, the domestic peak season for centralized cell procurement has concluded, and there has been no significant uptick in demand in overseas markets or the distributed PV sector.

As a result, the demand for cells has weakened. With module prices also under pressure, module manufacturers are inclined to push down cell prices. Although there has been some improvement in the rate of decline for cells this week, the accumulation of cell inventory, falling upstream material prices, and sluggish downstream demand continue to exert constant pressure on cell prices.

  • Module

Module prices have gone down slightly throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for 182mm facial mono PERC module is RMB 1.08/W, 210mm facial mono PERC module is priced at RMB 1.11/W, 182mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 1.09/W, and 210mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 1.12/W.

On the supply side, module prices are persistently decreasing and have come close to the cost price of integrated manufacturers. Specialized module manufacturers, in response to module prices falling below their cost, have had to reduce their production rates to avoid losses. This is evident from the reduced demand for various auxiliary materials associated with module production.

On the demand side, the primary driver of demand continues to be large domestic projects, whereas overseas demand has not shown any significant increase. The overseas market is still working through its high inventory. In domestic bidding projects, there’s a noticeable shift toward an increased proportion of N-type modules, indicating a faster transition in demand toward N-type technologies.

In the third round of centralized procurement for PV modules by Huadian Group, the quoted price stands at 0.9933 yuan per watt. In the same month, the bidding price for modules in the centralized procurement tender by CHN Energy is 0.945 yuan per watt, marking a record low within a single month.

This price trend underscores the inevitable intense competition within the module sector, as excess production capacity is evident throughout the entire industry chain. This week, module prices have continued their descent. In summary, it’s probable that module prices will remain volatile in the future, especially considering that bidding prices for modules are swiftly approaching the 1 yuan mark.

Read more


[News] Samsung’s Announcement of a 20% Quarterly Price Increase for NAND Signals Promising Industry Trends

As reported by UDN News, Samsung Electronics is making a significant move by increasing the prices of NAND Flash memory by 20% every quarter until the second quarter of 2024. This price surge exceeds industry expectations.

Within the semiconductor industry, Samsung initially raised NAND wafer prices by 10% to 20% this quarter, Pulse reported. Now, the company has decided to continue this trend by progressively increasing prices by 20% during the first and second quarters of the next year. This strategic decision reflects Samsung’s determination to stabilize NAND wafer prices with the aim of reversing the market’s direction in the first half of the upcoming year.

Based on TrendForce’s research in October, with NAND wafer prices leading the increase since August and suppliers adopting a firmer stance in negotiations, Q4 enterprise SSD contract prices are projected to rise by approximately 5~10%. Meanwhile, reduced production of mainstream processes and fewer suppliers for high-end client SSDs have endowed suppliers with better bargaining power. Consequently, both high-end and low-end products are expected to increase concurrently, with 4Q23 PC client SSD contract prices projected to rise by 8~13%.

TrendForce also reports that Q4 contract prices for mobile DRAM are poised to see an increased quarterly rise of 13–18%. But that’s not all—NAND Flash is also joining the party, with contract prices of eMMC and UFS expected to climb by approximately 10–15% in the same quarter. This quarter is set to star mobile DRAM, traditionally the underperformer in profit margins compared to its DRAM counterparts, as it takes the lead in this round of price increases.

TrendForce foresees that memory prices are expected to continue trending upward in 1Q24. The rate of increase will depend on whether suppliers maintain a conservative production strategy and whether there is enough consumer demand to bolster the market.

Samsung’s Strategy on NAND Affect the Market and Company Performance

Following the latest financial report, NAND is a staple memory chip alongside DRAM, and together they account for around half of Samsung Electronics’ memory chip sales. In conjunction with the aggressive price hikes, Samsung is also curbing production to manage market supply effectively, promoting a positive market environment, and enhancing profitability.

At a recent financial conference on October 31st, Kim Jae-jun, Vice President of Samsung Eletronics, publicly stated, “There will be selective production adjustments to normalize inventories in a short time. A supply cut will be larger for NAND flash than for DRAM.”

Financial analysts estimate that as memory production cuts take effect and prices rise, Samsung’s operations will see a significant improvement starting from the fourth quarter of this year.

NAND Industry Foresee Bright Future amid Memory Price Surge

NAND-related businesses in Taiwan are also optimistic about the industry’s future. Khein Seng Pua, CEO of Phison Electronics Corp, indicated that the adjustment of OEM customer inventories, spanning the past six to nine months, is nearly complete. Consequently, Phison has secured more design-in projects, resulting in a gradual increase in wafer demand. Furthermore, Phison’s controller IC products have advanced into a new process generation, leading to a rise in value-added custom development projects.

Simon Chen, Chairman and CEO of ADATA, anticipates a prolonged period of rising memory prices, starting from the fourth quarter of this year and continuing into the first half of the next year. This is expected to create a two-year era of prosperity in the memory market, with supply shortages predicted in the coming years.

Industry experts highlight the reinvigoration of the NAND wafer market, with customers progressively returning. Samsung, being the global memory chip leader, is spearheading the price hikes, thereby contributing to a favorable pricing trend across the overall market.
(Image: Samsung)

Explore more:


[News] GlobalWafers Plans 8-Inch SiC Production Next Year and Growth for 2025  

GlobalWafers has achieved a milestone by successfully advancing silicon carbide (SiC) crystal growth to 8-inch wafers, aligning with major international players in the industry. The company foresees the commencement of small-scale shipments of 8-inch SiC products in Q4 2024, with substantial growth expected in 2025, surpassing the proportion of 6-inch wafers by 2026.

Accourding to CTEE, Doris Hsu, Chairwoman of GlobalWafers, shared that the yield for 8-inch SiC crystal growth has been excellent, with ample room for further expansion, currently exceeding 50%.

The company emphasizes its readiness with 8-inch SiC crystal growth, cutting, grinding, and polishing capabilities, with sample deliveries set for the first half of next year.

Hsu highlighted customers’ eagerness for GlobalWafers to expedite the transition from 6-inch to 8-inch SiC production, aiming for an “8-inch dominant, 6-inch secondary” approach. The increasing demand for 8-inch SiC is primarily driven by automotive customers.

In terms of technology, SiC is moving from 6-inch to 8-inch wafers due to increased demand. TrendForce’s insights indicated, “Currently, the silicon carbide industry is mostly using 6-inch wafers, accounting for nearly 80% of the market share, while 8-inch wafers make up less than 1%. Expanding the wafer size to 8 inches is considered crucial for further reducing the cost of silicon carbide devices.”

From a cost perspective, 8-inch wafers indeed offer substantial advantages, but the challenge of yield has consistently plagued SiC. TrendForce’s earlier research suggests that, when it reaches maturity, an 8-inch wafer’s selling price is approximately 1.5 times that of a 6-inch wafer, and the number of die an 8-inch wafer can produce is about 1.8 times that of a 6-inch SiC wafer, significantly improving wafer utilization.

While GlobalWafers currently manufactures SiC substrates in Taiwan, the future SiC epitaxy will take place in the United States, with plans to expand with two additional substrate and two additional epitaxy facilities.

The production of SiC crystals involves high-temperature and closed-environment growth, which demands meticulous furnace design and crucible material selection, adding complexity to equipment and operations.

GlobalWafers has designed and developed specialized SiC crystal growth furnaces, enhancing material quality control and lowering crystal growth costs. SiC’s high hardness and brittleness make wafer processing challenging, but GlobalWafers employs higher process accuracy and more efficient wafer handling methods to achieve ultra-thin SiC wafer processing.

(Image: GlobalWafers)

  • Page 3
  • 7 page(s)
  • 31 result(s)