24 6 月, 2024

Manufacturing

Processing Machinery

Which company is strong in chip foundry?

5 min read

Pre observation reminder

This article will focus on the top five companies in the wafer foundry industry with revenue in the third quarter of 2021, from the perspectives of process technology and market share.
In the third quarter of 2021, TSMC’s market share in the wafer foundry market increased from 52.9% in the second quarter of this year to 53.1%. Although the percentage increase is only slightly compared to the base, the victory lies in stability. TSMC’s top ten customers include Apple, MediaTek, AMD, Qualcomm, Broadcom, NVdia, Sony, Marvell, STM, ADI, and Intel.
Driven by the release of Apple’s new iPhone, revenue in the third quarter reached $14.88 billion, an increase of 11.9%, firmly ranking first in the world. Observing each process node, 7nm and 5nm are driven by the demand for smartphones and efficient computing. Their combined revenue has surpassed the overall proportion of TSMC and is continuing to grow.
TSMC understands that to hold onto Apple’s thighs, it needs to constantly put in effort on the manufacturing process, and update it more “fine” than others. 5nm and 7nm are no longer enough to meet TSMC’s needs, because 5nm and 7nm may be a ladder for other companies, but not for Samsung.
First of all, what does TSMC want? Stable or stable. This year’s performance may be good, but next year it may decline. Not rising may be a small problem, but falling is a big problem.
On December 24th, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes, TSMC plans to begin commercial production of chips based on its 3nm process in the fourth quarter of 2022.
It is expected that Apple will release its first 3nm chip devices manufactured by TSMC in 2023, including a Mac with an M3 chip and an iPhone 15 model with an A17 chip. As usual, using more advanced 3nm technology will improve performance and energy efficiency, which will achieve faster speed and longer battery life on future Macs and iPhones.
In order to achieve high performance, TSMC has even advanced the 3nm process. If we continue to advance, it will be the physical limit. If we want to talk about what a company most, it is definitely not about researching and developing new technologies to climb the pinnacle of technology forever, but about lying down and making money.
Under what circumstances can one make money by lying down and monopolizing. TSMC is obviously not. Although its market share has reached a level of 53%, it is still far from a monopoly. Moreover, Samsung is still swaying behind it with 5nm, and it is uncertain that 3nm will be mass-produced one day.
So, for the sake of comfort, just for the sake of comfort, today’s TSMC still needs to work hard until the physical limit of the process is reached, just for the sake of tomorrow’s comfort.
Is Samsung important to TSMC? unimportance
Is the 3nm process important for TSMC? It’s not important either
Big customers are only important to TSMC.
Two things have happened recently. The first was that Samsung defeated TSMC to win Tesla orders and began producing chips for Tesla’s FSD (fully autonomous driving) system. The second was that TSMC’s orders were too full and the production cycle was too long. IBM and Italian semiconductor companies no longer wanted to wait for TSMC’s chips, so they directly handed over the subcontracting orders for microcontrollers (MCUs) to Samsung.
These two things are enough to raise TSMC’s blood pressure. On the one hand, the application fields of chips are constantly expanding, and new markets are constantly emerging, such as new energy vehicles and artificial intelligence. The old market share is eliminated with technological updates.
Samsung took away future orders from TSMC because Tesla complained that today’s TSMC quotation was too expensive.
On the other hand, IBM and Yifa Semiconductor may have a demonstration effect by turning their heads and choosing Samsung. AMD and Qualcomm are already circulating in the market, dissatisfied with TSMC’s preferential policies for Apple, and are starting to approach Samsung.
At the same time, Samsung has set a goal of fully surpassing TSMC by 2030. If Samsung achieves mass production with a 3nm process, it will be technologically at the same level as TSMC.
TSMC will definitely not be able to compete with Samsung. As mentioned in the previous “Article Link”, Samsung Semiconductor is followed by a Samsung consortium. If TSMC really wants to compete for big customers, it will definitely lose.
But the next one to appear is the heavyweight, although its manufacturing process hovers between 7 and 10nm, and its market share is far from that of TSMC and Samsung.
But when it comes to volume, it can definitely kill TSMC and Samsung. There’s nothing else, just because it’s an American company – Grid Core.
Why do you say that?
Because there are a large number of Japanese enterprises in the Plaza Accord, as well as the “demonstration” of Alstom and Huawei.
Recently, the United States has requested more than 20 chip related companies, including TSMC and Samsung, to voluntarily submit supply chain data within 45 days, citing a lack of chips; Samsung and TSMC also submitted their proposals with great care.
So, if the market share is large enough to threaten the semiconductor industry chain in the United States, it will be rolled back to the end.
Speaking of SMIC International, it should be considered the weakest, with a market share of only 5.0% in the third quarter of 2021, a decrease of 0.3% compared to the second quarter.
At present, the chip manufacturing process has been defined as a “physical limit”, and it is unclear whether it is a good or bad thing for SMIC. The good news is that those who are ahead have been temporarily restricted in their footsteps, and the bad news is that they have not yet found the technique for overtaking on curves.
But in the long run, SMIC is the most promising candidate to achieve first place. Nothing else, because it’s in China.
Apart from having a system of concentrating efforts to accomplish major tasks, which link is defined as a weakness, then the next step is to make every effort to overcome the advantages.
There is also the advantage of the entire industry chain, which emphasizes supporting industries and integrating resources.
From the perspective of supply chain support, coupled with being the world’s largest market, many technological breakthroughs have already been demonstrated. Once China has them, it is the price of cabbage.
The lithography machine, process technology, and materials are all shortcomings of China, and if China has its own, it is truly there; Samsung and TSMC currently have some, but not necessarily in the future. Because we are not afraid of sanctions.

The most promising future is SMIC International, as it relies on China.