Samsung’s foundry biz market share to increase in Q1 2021

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Samsung Electronics’s market share in the global foundry industry is expected to increase in the first quarter of the year from the previous three months, though its growth was projected to be lower than the industry average amid high demand for chips.

Samsung’s foundry business was estimated to log a market share of 18 per cent with revenue of $4.05 billion in the January-March period, up 11 per cent from a year earlier, according to a report from industry tracker TrendForce. Samsung, also the world’s largest memory chip producer, was estimated to have taken a market share of 16.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, reports Yonhap news agency.

“Samsung will continue to raise its semiconductor CAPEX this year, which is divided between its memory and foundry businesses and represents Samsung’s desire to catch up to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC),” TrendForce said.

“With regards to process technologies, the Korean company’s capacity utilisation rates for the 5-nanometer (nm) and 7nm nodes have been relatively high in the first quarter of 2021.”

However, it was projected that Samsung was not able to significantly narrow the gap with the industry’s leading player TSMC, TrendForce report showed.

TSMC was expected to further expand its dominance in the first quarter with a market share of 56 per cent, with its revenue soaring 25 per cent on-year to $12.91 billion. TSMC was estimated to have logged a market share of 55.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“TSMC has been maintaining a steady volume of wafer inputs at its 5nm node, and these wafer inputs are projected to account for 20 per cent of the company’s revenue,” TrendForce said. “On the other hand, owing to chip orders from AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm and MediaTek, demand for TSMC’s 7nm node is likewise strong and likely to account for 30 per cent of TSMC’s revenue, a slight increase from the previous quarter.”

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Another Taiwanese chipmaker, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), was expected to take the No. 3 spot in the foundry market with a 7 per cent share, with its revenue increasing 14 per cent on-year to $1.6 billion in the first quarter.

Overall, TrendForce expected the top 10 foundries to post strong earnings in the first quarter, with their combined revenue to increase 20 per cent from a year earlier to $22.59 billion.