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In 2014, the pure-play IC foundry market registered a strong 17% increase, the largest increase since 2010 and eight points greater than the 9% increase in the worldwide IC market. In 2015, the pure-play foundry market showed a 6% increase, about one-third the rate of growth in the previous year, but seven points higher than the total IC market growth rate of -1%.
For 2016, the pure-play foundry market is expected to increase by 9% and greatly outperform the growth rate of total IC market, which is forecast to drop by 2% this year.
IC Insights indicated that the top 10 pure-play foundries are expected to hold 95% of the total pure-play foundry market this year. This year, the “Big 4” pure-play foundries (i.e., TSMC, GlobalFoundries, UMC, and SMIC) are forecast to hold an imposing 84% share of the total worldwide pure-play IC foundry market.
And TSMC is expected to hold a 58% marketshare in 2016, down one point from 2015, as its sales are forecast to increase by $2.1 billion this year, up from a $1.5 billion increase in 2015. GlobalFoundries, UMC, and SMIC’s combined share is expected to be 26% this year, the same as in 2015.
The two top-10 pure-play foundry companies that are forecast to display the highest growth rates this year are Israel-based TowerJazz, which is expected to edge-out Powerchip for the 5th spot in the pure-play foundry ranking in 2016, and China-based SMIC, with 30% and 27% sales increases, respectively. TowerJazz and SMIC have been on a very strong growth curve over the past few years. TowerJazz is expected to grow from $505 million in sales in 2013 to $1,245 million in 2016 (a 35% CAGR) while SMIC is forecast to more than double its revenue from 2011 ($1,220 million) to 2016 ($2,850 million) and register a 19% CAGR over this five-year timeperiod.
Eight of the top-10 pure-play foundries are based in the Asia-Pacific region. Israel-based TowerJazz, and U.S.-headquartered GlobalFoundries are the only non-Asia-Pacific companies in the top-10 group. While LFoundry is currently headquartered in Avezzano, Italy, China-based SMIC agreed in 2Q16 to purchase 70% of the company for approximately $55 million. Since LFoundry has an installed capacity of 40K 200mm wafers/month, the acquisition of a controlling interest in the company essentially serves to immediately expand SMIC’s capacity by 13% this year.
Although SMIC is forecast to register strong sales growth of 27% this year, Chinese foundries, in total, are expected to hold only 8.2% of the pure-play foundry market in 2016, down 5.1 points from the peak share of 13.3% reached in 2006 and 2007.
IC Insights believes that the total Chinese company share of the pure-play foundry market will increase through 2020, as the China-based foundries take advantage of the huge amount of government and private investment that will be flowing into the Chinese semiconductor market infrastructure over the next five years.
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