TSMC outpaces foundry rivals in revenues per wafer

26th October 2014
Mick Elliott

TSMC is leading the way in revenues per wafer among the top four pure play semiconductor foundry companies. A report from IC Insights finds that the revenue per wafer start (expressed in 200mm equivalents) varies considerably among foundry companies (Figure 1). TSMC’s revenue per wafer is forecast at $1,328 in 2014 outpacing GlobalFoundries by 27%.  

UMC’s revenue per wafer in 2014 is expected to be just $770, 42% less than TSMC’s revenue per wafer.  Although the average revenue per wafer of the Big 4 foundries is forecast to be $1,145 in 2014, the actual revenue per wafer is highly dependent upon feature size.

IC Insights expects 60% of TSMC’s 2014 revenue is expected to be from devices manufactured using ≤45nm geometries.  As expected, a large portion of GlobalFoundries’ wafer fab capacity is dedicated to producing AMD’s MPUs, so its process technology is also skewed toward leading edge feature sizes.  In 2014, 57% of GlobalFoundries’ sales are forecast to be from ≤45nm production.

Although TSMC and GlobalFoundries are expected to have a similar percentage of sales dedicated to ≤45nm technology in 2014, TSMC is forecast to have almost 6x the dollar volume sales at ≤45nm as compared to GlobalFoundries this year ($14.8 billion for TSMC and $2.5 billion for GlobalFoundries). SMIC started manufacturing devices using 45nm technology in early 2012, more than three years after TSMC first put its 45nm process into production.

Only 15% of SMIC’s 2014 sales are expected to come from devices having ≤45nm feature sizes, which is the primary reason why its revenue per wafer is so low as compared to TSMC and GlobalFoundries. The vast majority of the increase in pure-play foundry sales in 2014 is forecast to originate from sales of devices built using ≤28nm feature sizes.

The ≤28nm pure-play foundry market is expected to be increase to $12.3 billion in 2014, a jump of $5.1 billion or 72% as compared to 2013, and account for 29% of total pure-play foundry marketshare this year.  Meanwhile, the market for devices built using >28nm technology, while forecast to represent 71% of total pure-play foundry sales in 2014, is forecast to increase only 4% this year.

Additional information about sales and other activities of pure-play IC foundry leaders is provided in the 2014 edition of IC Insights’ flagship report, The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry.

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