The combined sales of the top five semiconductor foundries in the world will increase 10% in 2021 from a year prior, VLSIresearch president Risto Puhakka said on Thursday.
TSMC, Samsung Foundry, SMIC, GlobalFounderies and UMC combined will record US$80 billion in sales this year, the president said at Semicon Korea.
The combined sales grew 26% in 2020 compared to 2019. Increase in demand for PCs and home appliances from the rise in remote services fueled this growth.
Despite the current global semiconductor shortage, most foundry companies have their capacity full, which won’t allow a dramatic increase in sales, Puhakka said. Foundry companies will increase prices of their products, which lead to sales growth, the president said.
Both 200mm and 300mm foundries have their hands full this year. Orders for 7nm, used to make smartphone application processors, GPU and automobile chips, has been backed-up. TSMC and Samsung are the only two companies that can make chips under 10nm.
Under 7nm process is estimated to account for 11% to 14% of all foundries, Puhakka said. Production capacity is limited but their share was going up, he said.
200mm foundry used to make 30nm or bigger chips are also facing tight production. Power management IC, display driver IC, microcontroller unit and image sensors are made with 200mm foundry. Demand for these components, especially power management IC and image sensors, have skyrocketed from 5G, telecommunication, smartphones and autonomous cars.
If four power management ICs were used in a 4G smartphone, nine are used in a 5G smartphone.
In 2021, under-16nm will account for 25% of all foundries, while 20nm to 45nm will account for 30% and over-65nm 45%, Puhakka said.
Foundry companies will commence strategic investments to secure capacity in 7nm and 5nm production this year, he added, while they will also expand investments into 3nm.