IC Insights offers standings and sales numbers for 2014 with an eye for exactly who is doing what these days. Naturally they also reported on fab vs. fabless and the international standings of both fab and fabless companies in the industry. And finally, they had interesting conclusions about the future of China’s role in the industry as well as who within China will be providing the semiconductor chips and testing.
China – Predator-like Actions and Movement Within the Industry
China seems to be moving towards a role of predator within the IC business industry. Digitimes reported that SMIC has become the latest in a group of companies joining together to invest in STATS ChipPAC. The purchase would include the largest semiconductor chip tester in China, Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology (JCET). JCET initially offered $780 million for STATS ChipPAC. Now SilTech Shanghai, the parent company of SMIC, is putting $100 million towards investment. And the Chinese Government has set up an IC Fund in September of last year, part of the plan to bolster the IC industry locally.
Digitimes also reports that the most likely prey for a predatorily minded China will be Taiwan, where IC design houses and backend service providers could provide further support to China’s industry plans.
Between Taiwanese and South Korean companies, 56% of 300mm fab capacity is housed in these two countries. Companies in both countries are headquartered primarily at home, as well as foundry services for DRAM and flash memory, which are booming. China’s interest would be an obvious move.
2014 Sales Leaders
IC Insights reported that the top 20 included six fabless companies as well as TSMC (ranked 3rd, Taiwan) and UMC (ranked 19th, Taiwan), two pure-play foundries. Based on the numbers, Qualcomm (ranked 4th, U.S.) is a fabless company, Samsung (ranked 2nd, S. Korea) is a vertically integrated IC supplier, and Intel (ranked 1st, U.S.) can be considered a pure-play IDM; these are the top four sales leaders and clearly they show that among semiconductor suppliers, business models differ dramatically. Micron and relatively newly acquired Elpida (U.S.) are ranked 5th, with SK Hynix (S. Korea), TI (U.S.), Toshiba (Japan), Broadcom (U.S.), and ST (Europe) rounding out the top ten, in that order. Samsung and SK Hynix together make up 35% of 300mm wafer capacity globally, with Samsung holding the bulk with 24%. Standings are identical to 2013 for the top 10, with only minor shifts in positions 11-20.