Semiconductor Foundries

September 22, 2016
Semiconductor foundries

TSMC, five other foundries with more than $1.0 billion in revenue.

Information in this Research Bulletin comes from the 2014 edition of IC Insights’ McClean Report. The 900-page report includes over 400 charts and figures! Details of the new report are provided at the end of this bulletin.

IC Insights’ ranking of the leading IC foundries—both pure-play and IDM—by foundry sales for 2013 is shown in Figure 1. In total, the top 13 foundries in the figure represented 91% of total foundry sales in 2013. For comparison, the leading 13 foundries accounted for 84% of total foundry marketshare in 2009, the year before Samsung dramatically ramped up its IC foundry production for Apple.

Figure 1

TSMC, by far, remained the leader with almost $20 billion in sales in 2013. In fact, TSMC’s 2013 sales were over 4x that of second-ranked GlobalFoundries and 10x the sales of the fifth-ranked foundry SMIC. As shown, there are only three IDM foundries in the ranking—Samsung, IBM, and MagnaChip. Samsung was easily the largest IDM foundry in 2013 with over 8x the sales of IBM, the second-largest IDM foundry.

Powerchip has recently done very well in the foundry business after struggling to remain competitive in the DRAM business. Powerchip announced in January 2011 that it would stop selling DRAMs under its own brand name to focus on producing other devices such as LCD drivers, CMOS image sensors, flash memory, and power management devices both for self-branded products and on a foundry basis for others. The move came after Powerchip agreed to sell all of its DRAM-production output to Elpida, which had been buying about half of the company's commodity DRAMs under a previous foundry agreement.

In 2011, Powerchip’s foundry sales were $374 million, which represented 29% of the company’s semiconductor sales. In 2012, Powerchip’s foundry sales surged 67% to $625 million, which represented 67% of the company’s total semiconductor sales, and in 2013, Powerchip’s disclosed that it had made the complete transition to a pure-play foundry with sales reaching $1, 175 million, 100% of the company’s total IC sales. Slowly but surely the company has transformed itself into a major IC foundry.

In 2013, Samsung had a 15% increase in its foundry sales and was less than $10 million behind the third-largest IC foundry in the world—UMC. Samsung has the ability (i.e., leading-edge capacity and a huge capital spending budget) and desire to become a major force in the IC foundry business. It is estimated that the company’s dedicated IC foundry capacity reached 150K 300mm wafers per month in 4Q13. Using an average-revenue-per-wafer figure of $3, 000, it is estimated that Samsung’s IC foundry business segment has the potential to produce annual sales of about $5.4 billion.

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