IC Insights: S. Korean and Taiwanese companies control the 300mm fab capacity

Vast majority of the wafer capacity is local to two countries. Samsung alone controls about 24 percent of all the world’s 300mm capacity.

South Korean and Taiwanese chip companies are well known for manufacturing process when it comes to efficiently fabricating huge amounts of IC wafers. Most of the IC industry’s biggest fab facilities are located in these two countries. Because of their fab operation and wafer fabricating expertise, IC companies headquartered in South Korea and Taiwan lead the way in capital-intensive segments of the IC industry such as high-unit-volume products like DRAM and flash memory or foundry services making ICs for companies without fabs and a growing number of companies with fabs.

The South Korea-based companies Samsung and SK Hynix currently account for 35 percent of global 300mm wafer capacity. Samsung alone controls about 24 percent of all the world’s 300mm capacity. When looking at 300mm wafer capacity according to fab location instead of headquarters location, 28 percent of worldwide capacity is in South Korea. Samsung and SK Hynix both own big 300mm fabs outside of South Korea. In fact, SK Hynix’s largest fab is in China. Samsung also has a 300mm fab in China as well as two in the U.S.

Taiwanese companies currently manage 21 percent of the world’s 300mm capacity, with about 85 percent of that capacity being committed to foundry services. The remaining 15 percent of Taiwan-controlled 300mm capacity is mostly used to produce memory devices. The vast majority of the 300mm wafer capacity in Taiwan is owned by Taiwanese companies, with the only exception being the 300mm capacity that U.S.-based Micron gets from its Inotera joint-venture with Nanya and its wholly owned fab in Taichung acquired in 2013. There is only one Taiwanese-controlled 300mm fab located outside of Taiwan and that is UMC’s fab in Singapore.

Even though 15 percent of the world’s 300mm wafer capacity is located in the North America, 28 percent of global 300mm capacity is controlled by companies with North American headquarters.

Two other noticeable share differences in the comparison are in China and the ROW region, which in this case is essentially just Singapore and Israel. The vast majority of 300mm wafer capacity in China and ROW is controlled by foreign companies.

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