Weird Old Foundry Industry

The $30 billion silicon foundry industry is weird. Only four companies out of 18 pure-play foundries can make leading edge ICs and only four others can make 90nm chips, points out IC Insights.

‘In 2012, TSMC and Globalfoundries were in high-volume production of devices using 28nm feature sizes,’ says IC Insights, ‘the process technology gap between the other significant pure-play IC foundries and the leading-edge producers is enormous.’

Leaving aside the Big Four – TSMC, Globalfoundries, UMC and SMIC – there are only four other foundries – TowerJazz, Grace/HHNEC, Dongbu, and Xinxin – expected to be able to produce ICs using ≤90nm feature sizes in 2012, and this production is likely to be relatively limited, says IC Insights.

Nonetheless these 14 ‘non-major’ IC foundries are forecast to account for $4.6 billion in sales, or about 15% of the total pure-play IC foundry market in 2012.

Last year TSMC’s $15 billion of revenues represented about half of the foundry industry’s revenues while UMC and Globalfoundries with collective revenues of about $7 billion accounted for about a quarter of the industry’s revenues.

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