The 2015 market for semiconductor silicon wafers fell 5.3% to $7.2B on a record 10.4 BSI Si shipped, according to a new report, “Silicon Wafers Market & Supply Chain 2016, a TECHCET Critical Materials Report.” The silicon demand outlook for 2016 is expected to increase 6.8% to 11.1 BSI, largely due to the strength of the memory market. Issues with wafer supply will likely continue, as demand for 300mm polished wafers increases beyond capacity. Certain 200mm wafers are also in a tight supply situation given strong demand growth from the discrete device fabs coupled with limited supplier capacity, as explained in TECHCET’s report. Declining ASPs are expected as competition for China’s 200mm wafer demand increases and the 300mm market continues its evolution toward polished wafer usage.
Although shipments of silicon by area recovered after 2009, prices have still not recov- ered to 2008 (pre-US housing / WW credit crisis) levels. TECHCET expects aggregate Si ASPs to fall slightly in 2016 before firming or modestly increasing in 2017.
SOI wafer price increases, which started in 2014 due to a temporary supply-demand im- balance, have stabilized as new capacity has come online. Some pricing pressure is anticipated in 2016 as new players vie for market share.
The timeline for 450mm wafer piloting has been pushed out to 2019 with a ramp in 2020. While Intel remains bullish, TSMC, Samsung and Global Foundries have not yet joined the 450mm investment track. As a result, only Shin Etsu Handotai (S.E.H.) and SUMCO have invested in 450mm wafer development to date.
The top 5 silicon wafer producers account for roughly 97% of 300mm polished and epi- taxial wafers sales (by revenue). S.E.H. and SUMCO together account for over 55% of that 300mm revenue and more than 60% of the top 5’s total sales. China has no appreciable market share in the wafer market however, although acquisitions could change this in the future.
For more information on the wafer market, including details on the SOI market, please see TECHCET’s Critical Materials Report on Wafers, at https://techcet.com/product/silicon-wafers/.