As China has been ramping up investment in semiconductor manufacturing facilities, its semiconductor production equipment market is expected to get bigger than that of South Korea, which is the world’s largest.
According to the Mid-year Forecast released by the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) on July 11, the Chinese semiconductor equipment market is projected to reach US$11.081 billion this year. China will become, for the first time, the second largest semiconductor equipment market in the world, beating Taiwan which had been the largest market until 2016.
China has shown a remarkable, rapid growth for the last four years. In 2015, just three years ago, the size of the Chinese market was estimated at US$4.090 billion, and the country remained fifth in the global semiconductor market size after Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the US. Since then it has grown by 30 percent a year, with the growth rate expected to reach 43 percent this year. An official from the SEMI said, “China’s aggressive investment is raising the number of semiconductor wafer fabrication plants, which makes the equipment market grow as well.”
The SEMI report analyzes that although Korea continues to remain as the largest semiconductor equipment market again this year following last year, it is expected to be overtaken by China next year. The report also predicts that China will account for 25.63 percent of the global semiconductor equipment market next year, slightly ahead of South Korea which will account for 24.13 percent.
Choi Jae-seong, professor of semiconductor equipment engineering at Far East University, said, “Korean equipment manufacturers may be given an opportunity to enter the growing Chinese market, but their technologies are at risk of getting leaked,” adding, “They should make preparations against it while tightening security measures using blockchain technology.”