March 9, 2011 - As semiconductor capital spending becomes more concentrated at advanced technologies, so too does capacity become concentrated at fewer players. Illustrating this trend: IC Insights has come up with a "power rating" showing where companies rank in both 300mm wafer capacity and capital spending, to show who are likely to be the primary players in future chipmaking capacity additions. (Hint: The top 10 are the ones that matter.)
The ability to even make such massive investments in semiconductor capacity is practically self-selecting, as illustrated by these combined rankings. Note that GlobalFoundries actually places 10th in 300mm capacity, but 7th in "power" ranking thanks to its commitment to invest (it's 4th in capital spending). Same for TSMC: 5th in 300mm capacity, 2nd in capital spending, third place overall. Both foundries' capex efforts should soon translate into more 300mm capacity over the next few years.
On the flip side, don't look for any large blocks of future 300mm capacity for leading-edge digital ICs from the companies ranked 11-22 on this list. Five are either moving now or already moved to a fab-lite strategy: Renesas, IBM, TI, ST, and Fujitsu, the firm notes (TI and ST are adding some 300mm capacity for analog, but that's it). The rest are either limited by lack of funds (struggling memory firms Powerchip, ProMOS, and Winbond, and China's SMIC and Wuhan Xinxin) or simply a "lack of desire" (Japan's Rohm and Panasonic).
The rankings aren't much of a surprise; equipment/materials suppliers already know who the attractive Tier 1 chipmaking customers are. But they do reiterate how the pool for 300mm chipmaking customers is shrinking and condensing -- and remind suppliers to make these firms a top priority in their marketing efforts if they want to compete in the next 5-10 years.
|300mm wafer capacity leaders in 2010, combining rankings for capacity and |
capital spending (a lower figure is best). (Source: IC Insights, company data)