Affected by the repeated upward adjustment of silicon wafer prices, combined with the continued full capacity utilization of 8 wafer fabs in Mainland China and Taiwan, chip orders continued to increase. TSMC, UMC, VIS, SMIC and SHHIC and other foundries decided to gradually increase the price of 8-inch wafers.
Since 2017, global silicon wafers have continued to show an imbalance between supply and demand, with quotes increasing by 15%-20%. It is expected that the price of silicon wafers will increase by 20% in 2018, and the demand gap for silicon wafers will be 10%-20% in 2018. In 2016, there are a total of 188 8-inch wafer fabs in operation worldwide. By 2021, it is expected to increase to 197. It is estimated that by 2021, China's 8-inch wafer production capacity will be the highest in the world, and between 2017 and 2021, the capacity growth rate will be 34%. The 8-inch wafer capacity in Southeast Asia and the United States will also witness significant growth at the same time, with growth rates of 29% and 12% respectively.
Due to the shortage of 8-inch wafer foundry capacity in the second half of the year, and most of the production capacity was packaged by IDM manufacturers as early as in the first half of the year, IC design customers are now facing the problem of insufficient capacity for foundry production. In order to grab enough capacity to cope with the strong demand in the second half of the year, the IC design factory not only promised to increase production capacity by means of increasing the price of urgent orders. From this point of view, the average sales price of 8-inch wafers in the second half of the year has the opportunity to stop falling and rise, and it is also expected that the production capacity will be fully loaded to the end of the year.
Earlier, SUMCO pointed out that the supply growth of 8-inch silicon wafers is limited, and production equipment is not easy to obtain. It is not easy for the industry to expand production capacity for 8-inch silicon wafers, and 8-inch silicon wafers may be subject to long-term tight supply. The sense of crisis for semiconductor manufacturers to purchase 8-inch wafers is even better than 12-inch. In addition, as demand continues to outstrip supply, in addition to price increases, sales are continuing to adopt distribution methods.
According to reports, semiconductor plants in mainland China will be completed and put into production in the next 2-3 years, becoming the largest source of semiconductor silicon wafers. According to the evaluation of semiconductor silicon wafer maker FST(FORMOSA SUMCO TECHNOLOGY) , based on 2017, it is expected that the market demand will grow by 35% by 2020, and this year's silicon wafer price will grow by more than double digits, and will continue to rise in next year.