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Archive for March, 2018

U.S. Companies Maintain Largest Share of Fabless Company IC Sales

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

China-based companies show the largest fabless IC marketshare gain since 2010.

Research included in the March Update to the 2018 edition of IC Insights’ McClean Report shows that fabless IC suppliers accounted for 27% of the world’s IC sales in 2017—an increase from 18% ten years earlier in 2007.  As the name implies, fabless IC companies do not operate an IC fabrication facility of their own.Figure 1 shows the 2017 fabless company share of IC sales by company headquarters location.  At 53%, U.S. companies accounted for the greatest share of fabless IC sales last year, although this share was down from 69% in 2010 (due in part to the acquisition of U.S.-based Broadcom by Singapore-based Avago). Broadcom Limited currently describes itself as a “co-headquartered” company with its headquarters in San Jose, California and Singapore, but it is in the process of establishing its headquarters entirely in the U.S. Once this takes place, the U.S. share of the fabless companies IC sales will again be about 69%.


Figure 1

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IC Insights Raises 2018 IC Market Forecast from 8% to 15%

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
Increased expectations for the DRAM and NAND flash markets spur upward revision.

IC Insights’ latest market, unit, and average selling price forecasts for 33 major IC product segments for 2018 through 2022 is included in the March Update to the 2018 McClean Report (MR18).  The Update also includes an analysis of the major semiconductor suppliers’ capital spending plans for this year.The biggest adjustments to the original MR18 IC market forecasts were to the memory market; specifically the DRAM and NAND flash segments.  The DRAM and NAND flash memory market growth forecasts for 2018 have been adjusted upward to 37% for DRAM (13% shown in MR18) and 17% for NAND flash (10% shown in MR18).

The big increase in the DRAM market forecast for 2018 is primarily due to a much stronger ASP expected for this year than was originally forecast.  IC Insights now forecasts that the DRAM ASP will register a 36% jump in 2018 as compared to 2017, when the DRAM ASP surged by an amazing 81%.  Moreover, the NAND flash ASP is forecast to increase 10% this year, after jumping by 45% in 2017.  In contrast to strong DRAM and NAND flash ASP increases, 2018 unit volume growth for these product segments is expected to be up only 1% and 6%, respectively.

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Are the Major DRAM Suppliers Stunting DRAM Demand?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Skyrocketing DRAM prices potentially open the door for startup Chinese competitors.

Historically, the DRAM market has been the most volatile of the major IC product segments.  A good example of this was displayed over the past two years when the DRAM market declined 8% in 2016 only to surge by 77% in 2017! The March Update to the 2018 McClean Report (to be released later this month) will fully detail IC Insights’ latest forecast for the 2018 DRAM and total IC markets.In the 34-year period from 1978-2012, the DRAM price-per-bit declined by an average annual rate of 33%. However, from 2012 through 2017, the average DRAM price-per-bit decline was only 3% per year! Moreover, the 47% full-year 2017 jump in the price-per-bit of DRAM was the largest annual increase since 1978, surpassing the previous high of 45% registered 30 years ago in 1988!

In 2017, DRAM bit volume growth was 20%, half the 40% rate of increase registered in 2016.  For 2018, each of the three major DRAM producers (e.g., Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron) have stated that they expect DRAM bit volume growth to once again be about 20%.  However, as shown in Figure 1, monthly year-over-year DRAM bit volume growth averaged only 13% over the nine-month period of May 2017 through January 2018.

Figure 1 also plots the monthly price-per-Gb of DRAM from January of 2017 through January of 2018.  As shown, the DRAM price-per-Gb has been on a steep rise, with prices being 47% higher in January 2018 as compared to one year earlier in January 2017.  There is little doubt that electronic system manufacturers are currently scrambling to adjust and adapt to the skyrocketing cost of memory.
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92 IC Wafer Fabs Closed or Repurposed From 2009-2017

Thursday, March 1st, 2018
150mm and 200mm wafer fabs accounted for two-thirds of total closures.

Since the global economic recession of 2008-2009, the IC industry has been on a mission to pare down older capacity (i.e., ≤200mm wafers) in order to produce devices more cost-effectively on larger wafers. The spree of merger and acquisition activity and the migration to producing IC devices using sub-20nm process technology has also led suppliers to eliminate inefficient wafer fabs. From 2009-2017, semiconductor manufacturers around the world have closed or repurposed 92 wafer fabs, according to data compiled, updated, and now available in IC Insights’ Global Wafer Capacity 2018-2022 report.

Figure 1 shows that since 2009, 41% of fab closures have been 150mm fabs and 26% have been 200mm wafer fabs. 300mm wafer fabs have accounted for only 10% of total fab closures since 2009. Qimonda was the first company to close a 300mm wafer fab after it went out of business in early 2009.


Figure 1

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