The global semiconductor material market is expected to continue to grow based on advanced technology unlike the global semiconductor market. At present, it is Japanese companies that are leading the global semiconductor material market. Yet South Korean companies are sharpening their competitive edge in order to catch up with them.
Last year, the size of the global semiconductor material market reached an all-time high of US$51.94 billion. The previous high, US$47.1 billion, was recorded in 2011.
When it comes to the high-purity hydrogen fluoride that is used for semiconductor production, Japanese companies such as Stella Chemifa and Morita Chemical Industries are currently meeting over 90 percent of the global demand. As for silicon wafers, which constitute the largest segment of the market, the market share of the Japanese companies including Shin-Etsu Chemical and Sumco amounts to 60 percent.
In addition, such Japanese companies currently represent 78 percent of the shielding material market segment, 53 percent of CMP slurry, 99 percent of photoresistor and 80 percent of semiconductor sealing material.
Under the circumstances, South Korean semiconductor manufacturers are increasing their investments in those segments. For instance, SK Group recently selected semiconductor material production as one of its five future growth drivers and began to acquire multiple semiconductor material suppliers.
In the group, SK Siltron manufactures wafers, SKC supplies chemical materials, and SK Materials produces process gases. Also, the group set up joint ventures with Japanese companies such as Trichem and Showa Denko for stable material supply and R&D. In Samsung Group, Samsung SDI is supplying Samsung Electronics with materials such as epoxy molding compounds for use in semiconductor packaging processes.