On January 9, the latest report released by IC Insights showed that the cryptocurrency boom in the first half of 2018 helped China’s wafer foundry market increase its total sales by 41% in 2018.
China’s fabless semiconductor companies are growing rapidly and demand for foundry services is increasing. Overall, sales of wafer foundries in China increased by 30% to $7.6 billion in 2017, when the global foundry market grew by only 9%. In 2018, China’s wafer foundry sales rose 41%, which is eight times the total sales of the global foundry market last year.
After experiencing a 41% surge in sales, China’s total share of the foundry market in 2018 increased by 5% to 19%, surpassing the share of the rest of the Asia Pacific region. It can be said that the Chinese market has basically promoted the growth of the entire foundry market.
In 2018, all major foundries achieved double-digit sales growth in China, but the biggest growth was still from foundry giant TSMC, whose sales in China rose 61% to $6 billion. The Chinese market is the main reason for TSMC’s sales growth last year. China’s share of TSMC’s sales has doubled from 9% in 2016 to 18% in 2018.
In 2018, TSMC’s sales in the Chinese market soared, mainly from the demand of the cryptocurrency market. Although TSMC’s cryptocurrency business sales in the second quarter of 2018 increased sharply, but in the second half of the year, bitcoin plunged, the cryptocurrency business slowed down, and its sales to China in the third and fourth quarters began to decline.
As China’s share of the pure-wafer foundry market increases rapidly (19% of the entire foundry market in 2018), many foundries plan to build or expand production in China. It is worth noting that the world’s top seven pure fabs are planning to increase production in China, including TSMC, GlobalFoundries, UMC, PowerChip and TowerJazz.