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Taiwan Overtakes Korea in Semiconductor Wafer Production
Global Race in Semiconductor Wafers
Taiwan Overtakes Korea in Semiconductor Wafer Production
  • By Michael Herh
  • March 2, 2016, 08:00
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Taiwan has beaten Korea in semiconductor wafer production. According to IC Insights, a semiconductor market survey organization, Taiwan edged out Korea in monthly wafer market share by 21.7 to 20.5 percent in December 2015. Japan came in third with 17.3 percent, while North American ranked fourth with 14.2 percent. China (9.7 percent) and Europe (6.4 percent) claimed the fifth and sixth spots. 

 This survey was based on regional wafer production. The standings will be different when production volume is measured by company. For example, wafers produced at Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor factories in North America and SK Hynix semiconductor factories in China were regarded as production originating from North America and China, respectively.  

Anyhow, Korea was dethroned as the world’s number one wafer production site in the world by Taiwan. The Taiwanese semiconductor industry is characterized by many foundry companies such as TSMC. In wafer production, Taiwan overtook Japan in 2011 and, four years later, outstripped Korea.

Although Taiwan and Japan are taking the lead in the production of 200 mm old-type wafers, Korea is the biggest producer of 300 mm new-type wafers. New-type wafers are one of the main products of Samsung Electronics’ factories in Giheung and Hwaseong, and SK Hynix’s Icheon and Cheongju factories. 

Since the Chinese government decided to promote the semiconductor industry as part of government policy, the country has been close to a double digit proportion by gradually increasing production volume since overtaking Europe in 2010.