Samsung Electronics announced that its foundry business expects to be a No. 2 in the global market this year, boosted by a rapid increase in demand for semiconductors for cryptocurrency diggers. The company seems to promote the foundry and system semiconductor businesses as its new growth engine after memory chips.
During Samsung Electronics’ Q4 earnings conference call on Jan. 31, Lee Sang-hyun, vice president of the foundry marketing division, said, “Recently, the number of semiconductor consignment production orders by digital currency related semiconductor companies is rising. We expect to take second place in the foundry market this year after Taiwan’s TSMC.”
He also added, “The 10nm process uses design process that is the most suitable to dig virtual currencies and it shows power efficiency and performance advantages. The 8nm and 7nm processes also has the demand related to digital currencies.”
In this regard, Samsung Electronics has been mass producing memory chips with its second-generation 10nm process from last year and is planning to mass produce them with the 8nm process this year. The company will also compete the development of the 7nm process by the end of this year and the 5 and 6 nm process by the end of next year and the 4nm fabrication process by the end of 2020. Such fabrication process plans are about the same level with Taiwan’s TSMC that accounts for more than 50 percent of the global foundry market.
The industry believes that the volume of orders by major graphics processing unit (GPU) fabless firms, including NVIDIA which has been consigned the production of its products to Samsung Electronics’ foundry division for a long time, has greatly increased due to the recent surge in demand for cryptocurrency diggers.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics announced a plan to expand its markets by strengthening the artificial intelligence (AI) function to its own application process (AP), Exynos. Huh Gook, vice president of the system LSI marketing division, said, “We are planning to release Exynos AP equipped with neural processes, such as face recognition and smart voice recognition, so that it can be used in various areas, including cars and mobile devices. We will respond to demand for not only high-end but also low-end mobile devices.”