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JW Insights: China's 8/12-inch silicon wafer manufacturers are ramping up production capacity amid a global imbalance of supply and demand, but only until 2024 will see an improvement
Chinese article by 施旭颖
English Editor WM Zhang
06-23 17:21

By Kate Yuan

Leading Chinese silicon wafer suppliers are actively expanding their 8/12 inch silicon wafer production capacity amid a global supply and demand imbalance. Still, it takes time to achieve production capacity, according to a JW Insights research report.

Globally, the demand for silicon wafers of 6 inches and below is stable, and the imbalance of supply and demand is with 12-inch and 8-inch silicon wafers. Global demand for 8-inch silicon wafers is about 6 million pieces/month. However, the production capacity is 5.5-5.8 million pieces/month, and the market is growing at a CAGR of 3%-5% per year. The global demand for 12-inch silicon wafers is about 7.5 million pieces per month, and the number will reach over 9 million in 2025. The global production capacity stands at just 7 million pieces per month right now.

Against this background, Chinese wafer producers are finding ways to expand their capacity. Listed companies NSIG (沪硅产业) and Lion Microelectronics (立昂微) have raised funds through capital markets for the R&D of their 12-inch silicon wafer projects.

AST (上海超硅), CCMC (中欣晶圆), and GRITEK (有研硅) are planning to go public. GRITEK plans to raise RMB1 billion ($148.9 million) to expand 8-inch silicon wafer production. CCMC and Zhonghuan Semiconductor (中环股份) have begun to enlarge output since 2021.

ESWIN Materials (奕斯伟材料) attracted RMB3 billion ($446.7 million) in the B round of financing in July 2021. GCLSemi (鑫芯半导体) completed the A round of financing in January 2022, with more than RMB1 billion ($148.9 million).

Zhao Yi,  a JW Insights consulting director, pointed out that although major manufacturers have announced production expansion plans, it takes a longer time to realize that. He gave the example of Zing Semiconductor (上海新昇), which spent 4-5 years reaching a production capacity of 150,000 pieces per month. The company plans to expand production by 300,000 pieces per month, which is expected to take 24 months.

Data from JW Insights shows that the production capacity of 8/12-inch wafers will gradually be released between 2022 and 2024. 2024 is an essential year to ease the global 12-inch supply-demand imbalance. By 2030, the global semiconductor wafer market is expected to reach a trillion-dollar scale.

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