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Samsung ranks 10th in foundry list

Posted: 08 May 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IC foundries  foundry market 

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd has secured the tenth spot in IC Insights' ranking of the leading IC foundries for 2007 after increasing its foundry sales fivefold in 2007 to hit Rs.1,552.47 crore ($385 million) in revenue.

The South Korean firm has come from zero sales in 2005 to a significant position, although still an order of magnitude down on market leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., United Microelectronics Corp., Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing. Aided by a technology alliance with IBM and Chartered and with a new, 300mm wafer fab dedicated exclusively to foundry production, Samsung has quickly emerged as a foundry player.

Europe-headquartered X-Fab, which merged with 1st Silicon in 2006, took the ninth spot and is the only non-Asia-Pacific pure-play foundry company in the top 14 group. Eleven of the top 14 foundry companies listed are based in the Asia-Pacific region.

'Big four'
With sales of almost Rs.40,323.86 crore ($10 billion), TSMC was the leading foundry supplier in 2007 although revenue only increased 1 per cent over 2006. TSMC's sales were only 11 per cent less than the combined foundry sales of the other companies listed in the top 14 ranking.

UMC maintained its second place ranking with sales of Rs.15,323.07 crore ($3.8 billion), an increase of 2 per cent over 2006. SMIC increased its sales 6 per cent and edged ahead of Chartered in 2007 to take over the number three position in the ranking. Together, these "big four" accounted for 68 per cent of the Rs.98,793.46 crore ($24.5 billion) foundry market in 2007.

TSMC, UMC, SMIC, and Chartered are pure-play foundries that do not offer IC products of their own design, but instead focus on producing ICs for other companies. In 2007, pure play foundries accounted for 84 per cent of the total foundry market.

The remaining 16 per cent of the market was accounted for by IDM foundries, defined as those companies that offer foundry services in addition to their own ICs. IDM foundries include IBM, NEC, TI, and Samsung.

IC foundries have two main customers—fabless IC companies such as Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Xilinx, and IDMs such as Freescale, ST, and others. Large companies and an increasing number of mid-size companies are ditching their fabs in favour of the fabless business model. Companies in this category include LSI and Avago (ex-Agilent), which have all become fabless in the past few years.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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