China shows biggest increase, nearly matching North America with 12.5% share in 2018.
IC Insights recently released its new Global Wafer Capacity 2019-2023 report that provides in-depth detail, analyses, and forecasts for IC industry capacity by wafer size, process geometry, region, and product type through 2023. Figure 1 shows the world’s installed monthly wafer production capacity by geographic region (or country) as of December 2018. Each number represents the total installed monthly capacity of fabs located in that region regardless of the headquarters location of the company that own the fab(s). For example, the wafer capacity that South Korea-based Samsung has installed in the U.S. is counted in the North America capacity total, not in the South Korea capacity total. The ROW “region” consists primarily of Singapore, Israel, and Malaysia, but also includes countries/regions such as Russia, Belarus, and Australia.
As shown, Taiwan led all regions/countries in wafer capacity with 21.8% share, a slight increase from 21.3% in 2017 (Taiwan first became the global wafer capacity leader in 2015.) Taiwan’s capacity share was only slightly ahead of South Korea, which accounted for 21.3% of global wafer capacity in 2018, according to the Global Wafer Capacity 2019-2023 report. TSMC in Taiwan and Samsung and SK Hynix in South Korea accounted for the vast share of wafer fab capacity in each country and were the top three capacity leaders worldwide. TSMC held 67% of Taiwan’s capacity while Samsung and SK Hynix represented 94% of the installed IC wafer capacity in South Korea at the end of 2018.
Japan remained firmly in third place with just over 16.8% of global wafer fab capacity. Micron’s purchase of Elpida several years ago and other recent major changes in manufacturing strategies of companies in Japan, including Panasonic spinning off some of its fabs into separate companies, means that the top two companies (Toshiba Memory and Renesas) accounted for 62% of that country’s wafer fab capacity.
China showed the largest increase in global wafer capacity share in 2018, rising 1.7 percentage points from a 10.8% share in 2017 to a 12.5% share in 2018. It nearly tied North America as the fourth-largest country/region with installed capacity. A lot of buzz circulated about China-based startups and their new wafer fabs during 2018. Meanwhile, other global companies expanded their manufacturing presence in China last year so it would be expected that the country’s capacity share would show a significant increase. China’s percentage gain came mostly at the expense of ROW and North America. The share of capacity in the ROW region slipped 0.8 percentage points from 9.5% in 2017 to 8.7% in 2018. North America’s share of capacity declined 0.4 percentage points in 2018.