CounterpointHardware equipment industry

List of mature manufacturing processes of global wafer foundry manufacturers From Counterpoint

The following is the List of mature manufacturing processes of global wafer foundry manufacturers From Counterpoint recommended by And this article belongs to the classification: Counterpoint, Hardware equipment industry.

This week, counterpoint research released the top list of global wafer foundry manufacturers by mature process (node ≥ 40nm) capacity, as shown in the figure below. It can be seen that the top four manufacturers are TSMC (28%), liandian (13%), SMIC (11%) and Samsung (10%).

Mature process is very popular in 2020, and there is a serious shortage of production capacity, which brings huge business opportunities to the major wafer foundry. From the perspective of the industrial development situation in 2021, it is difficult to alleviate this shortage in the near future. In this regard, counterpoint research believes that in 2021, the mature processes of the top OEM will only be allocated to specific applications.

For example, even with strong demand for 8-inch wafers, UMC announced that the capacity of 8-inch wafers will expand by only 1% – 3% in 2021. SMIC, which accounts for about 10% of the world’s mature process capacity, is also full of uncertainty in capacity expansion due to the restriction of the US ban. On the whole, this wave of capacity shortage is a structural problem, which can only be alleviated after all supply chains rebuild their inventories in 2022.

The more advanced the manufacturing process, the better

At present, there are two trends in the development of semiconductor process technology: one is to continue to pursue advanced process, with typical representatives of TSMC, Samsung, Intel and SMIC; the other is to focus on characteristic process to meet diversified needs, with representatives of liandian, Gexin, world advanced, Huahong Hongli, etc.

Compared with the mature process, the advanced process has some disadvantages. First, the cost of upstream IC design is getting higher and higher. Advanced processes can provide a good power consumption ratio for chips, but the growth rate of intergenerational design cost is getting higher and higher. For example, the cost of designing 7Nm chips is more than 10% Huawei’s Kirin 980 chip was manufactured by TSMC’s 7Nm process. The Kirin 980 was successfully applied by a team of more than 1000 engineers after more than 5000 engineering verifications in three years.

According to the calculation of IBS, if we develop NVIDIA GPU based on 3nm, the cost will be as high as US $1.5 billion. In terms of the economic benefits of chip design, 7Nm is a long-standing node, and 5nm / 3nm PPA and cost are difficult to reach the balance point, unless there are excessive shipments to share the cost equally.

Advantages of mature process

Mature process is mainly used to manufacture small and medium capacity memory chips, analog chips, MCU, power management (PMIC), analog-to-digital hybrid, sensors, RF chips, etc. At the application level, the rapid growth of cloud computing and 5g RF device demand provides a strong driving force for mature manufacturing process.

The wafer foundry industry is developing in a more subdivided direction. Unlike TSMC and Samsung, UMC, Gexin, towerjazz, world advanced, Huahong Hongli, etc. are pursuing advanced manufacturing processes. They pay more attention to their own unique processes. Through investment in existing mature processes, they can improve the cost performance and competitiveness of products.

From the demand side, the market application prospect of characteristic process is broad, and it has the foundation to attract more enterprises to do better and stronger in their own characteristic fields. At present, MCU, analog circuit and discrete devices account for nearly 50% of the total market share, and their development is more stable, which provides the basis for the application of characteristic process. What is more noteworthy is that, compared with the advanced technology, the penetration rate of characteristic technology in the wafer OEM business mode is relatively low. In terms of traditional logic devices, except Intel, the main manufacturers basically adopt the division and cooperation mode of “design OEM seal test”, while in the fields of analog devices, MCU and discrete devices, IDM still produces them at home. This makes it possible to expand the OEM business.

On the one hand, the stability of the demand side makes the manufacturers more predictable in terms of operation and management. On the other hand, due to the relatively high maturity of the manufacturing process, the characteristic process manufacturers are relatively small in terms of equipment expenditure and R & D investment scale, which makes them have advantages in cost control.

What are the mature processes? Specifically, it mainly includes the following.

Driver IC: with the increasing penetration rate of OLED panel, the market share of OLED manufacturers has increased, while the traditional OLED DDIC is mainly based on 80nm and above processes, and its order volume has increased, increasing the capacity of higher process nodes.

Power management chip: benefited from 5g promotion, the number of mobile phones has increased significantly, and the use of fast charging chips has also gradually increased. In addition, the introduction of new products such as TWS headphones also drives the demand for power management chip and NOR flash. The traditional PMIC process node is 0.18 μ M / 0.11 μ m, and the rising market demand provides the power for the mature process and the corresponding characteristic process demand.

Sensors: the number of mobile phone cameras is increasing. The supporting low pixel CIS promotes the demand of 0.18 μ m and other process nodes, and the ordinary high pixel CIS only needs 55nm process nodes, which further drives the demand of mature process OEM. In terms of fingerprint identification, the mobile phone field of off screen optics, capacitor side, ultrasonic gradually penetrated into the fields of smart home, finance, automobile and so on. This kind of products mostly use 0.11 μ M / 0.18 μ m process, and the corresponding mature process and characteristic process platform are more and more popular.

On behalf of enterprises

Driven by market demand, Fabs with mature manufacturing processes can rely on capacity adjustment and expansion to increase market share, especially in East Asia represented by China, where demand grows fastest. SMIC international, liandian, world advanced, tower jazz and other manufacturers mainly focus on mature process OEM, and mainly focus on discrete devices, drive IC, PMIC and envm.

In addition, although TSMC and Samsung are dominated by advanced manufacturing processes, they also occupy a dominant position in the mature manufacturing market due to their large volume and taking into account mature manufacturing processes. In particular, TSMC is in a leading position in both the overall ranking of global wafer foundry and the list of mature manufacturing processes.

SMIC international, mature process is the company’s main source of revenue. In the first half of 2020, for example, 0.15 μ M / 0.18 μ m, 55nm / 65nm and 40nm / 45nm contributed 33.4%, 32.6% and 14.9% of its revenue respectively.

SMIC has developed a variety of characteristic process platforms, such as power supply / simulation, high voltage drive, envm, mixed signal / RF, image sensor, etc. Among them, the power supply / simulation technology is based on the existing low-power logic process platform, which can provide module architecture and medium voltage and high-voltage devices. The high-voltage drive technology platform covers 0.15 μ m, 55nm, 40nm, etc.; the envm technology platform covers 0.35 μ m to 40nm technology nodes, which has the characteristics of low power consumption and outstanding durability.

In terms of TSMC, according to the company’s financial report in the fourth quarter of 2020, the revenue of 40nm / 45nm accounted for 8% of the total revenue, 65nm accounted for 5%, 90nm accounted for 2%, 0.11 μ M / 0.13 μ m accounted for 3%, 0.15 μ M / 0.18 μ m accounted for 7%, and 0.25 μ m and above accounted for 1%. In this way, the combined revenue of TSMC’s mature process in the quarter accounted for 26% of the total revenue, which is still a considerable figure.

From the perspective of historical development, TSMC began to transition from low-end wafer manufacturing based on 0.11 μ m + process to more advanced wafer manufacturing based on 40nm-90nm process in 2004, and began to transition from low-end wafer manufacturing based on medium and low-end process to wafer manufacturing based on 28nm and more advanced process at the end of 2011.

Samsung currently has four production lines, including three 12 inch and one 8-inch Fab lines. The 12 inch Fab lines are distributed in South Korea and the United States, mainly for relatively high-end manufacturing processes, including 65nm, 45nm, 32 / 28nm HKMG and 14nm FinFET processes. The 8-inch wafer foundry line was opened in 2016, covering 180nm to 65nm nodes. It is mainly used for eflash, power devices, CIS, and high-voltage processes.

In terms of liandian, due to the continuous influx of OEM orders for drive IC, PMIC, RF and IOT applications, liandian’s 8-inch wafer capacity is fully loaded. Moreover, it is reported that its production capacity in the first half of 2021 has been fully loaded.

Liandian is the first wafer foundry in the industry to give up 10nm and more advanced processes. In July 2017, the company launched the dual CEO system. Within a year after that, they made a careful research on the market. One year later, in July 2018, they announced that they would focus on mature processes instead of R & D investment in 10nm and more advanced processes.

Specifically, whether it is 8-inch or 12 inch fabs, liandian has focused on various new special manufacturing processes, especially for the Internet of things, 5g and automotive electronics, which have huge market and development prospects in the future, such as the automotive electronics business of liandian. In the past few years, the annual growth rate of liandian has exceeded 30%. Including RF, MEMS, LCD driver chip, OLED driver chip and other fields, liandian has targeted enhancement technology, and has been increasing the market share.

In terms of special processes, the market has a great demand for LCD driver chips and OLED driver chips. Most of them adopt 80nm and 40nm processes. On this basis, liandian has imported these chips into 28nm. In terms of special processes of MCU, liandian is also developing continuously.

Steady and bright development prospects

There is an urgent demand for mature process technology in the market, and the major Fabs also attach great importance to this business, and the industry is generally optimistic about its development prospects.

According to the report “global wafer capacity 2020-2024” released by IC insights, as the speed of chip feature size miniaturization continues to slow down, chip designers find it increasingly difficult to prove that higher costs can get reasonable returns. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages between advanced and mature processes are more clear, and the processes adopted by different companies are more targeted. This makes all kinds of manufacturing processes have the space to show their own advantages.

Under this development trend, according to the statistics and prediction of IC insights, the market share of various semiconductor processes is developing in a relatively more balanced direction, as shown in the figure below.

It can be seen from the figure that the proportion of mature processes of 40nm and above has not changed significantly in recent years, and the market scale is considerable.

The market share of mature processes above 40 nm is very stable, whether they are below 180 nm or above 180 nm. This is the reason why many Fabs focus on mature processes for a long time and do not invest too much capital and energy into advanced processes. At the same time, it is also the main reason why lattice core and liandian give up the most advanced processes. No matter how the advanced process develops, the market of mature process technology will still be very broad and have good investment value in the future.

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