Manufacturing News

China Gains In Growing Foundry Market

The pure-play silicon foundry market is expected to grow by 32 percent in 2006 over 2005--withChina taking significant share in the arena, according to IC insights Inc.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The pure-play silicon foundry market is expected to grow by 32 percent in 2006 over 2005 — with China taking significant share in the arena, according to IC Insights Inc.

The foundry market is growing faster than the overall IC industry. In comparison, the worldwide semiconductor industry is projected to grow 8 percent in 2006, according to IC Insights (Scottsdale, Ariz.).

IC Insights defines a pure-play foundry as a company that does not offer a significant amount of IC products of its own design, but instead focuses on producing ICs for other companies. In total, pure-play foundry sales are expected to display a 21 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2005 through 2010, almost double the 11 percent total IC industry CAGR expected during the same timeframe, according to the market research firm.

According to IC Insights, the previous “Big 3” pure-play foundries (TSMC, UMC, and Chartered) have now morphed into the “Big 4” foundries with the addition of China-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC).

In 2005, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) registered an all-time high in sales ($8.22 billion) and gained three percentage points in terms of market share.

SMIC registered the highest growth rate of any of the major pure-play foundries at 19 percent in 2005. SMIC held 7 percent of the pure-play foundry market in 2005, after holding only 1 percent three years earlier in 2002, according to IC Insights.

“Even with the poor showing of Grace Semiconductor (registering the largest decline in sales of any of the major foundries in 2005), the Chinese foundries, in total, held 13 percent of the pure-play foundry market in 2005, up from only 4 percent in 2002,” according to IC Insights.

In 2010, IC Insights believes that Chinese foundries will hold 17 percent of the worldwide pure-play foundry market, representing a sales level of $7.5 billion as compared to $2.2 billion in 2005.

The research firm does not expect the strong gains in market share registered by the Chinese foundries in 2003 and 2004 to continue through the rest of this decade. “As the Chinese foundries move from the explosive growth of the startup phase to the more moderate growth rates typically encountered by established companies, their total market share increases are forecast to average just slightly less than one percentage point per year over the next five years,” according to the firm.

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