According to media reports, recent typhoons and earthquake disasters in Japan have hit the supply of semiconductor silicon wafers. The Chitose plant of semiconductor silicon wafer manufacturer SUMC was shut down due to the earthquake in Hokkaido; the Mitsubishi Materials Corporation polysilicon plant was also unable to operate due to the strong typhoon in Kansai. In the past two years, the supply of semiconductor silicon wafers has been in short supply. Now the two major plants are shut down, which may cause tighter supply and higher prices.
Japan is the world's most important semiconductor silicon wafer production site. Local SUMCO and Shin-Etsu are the world's top two suppliers. SUMCO is the parent company of Taiwan's silicon wafer manufacturer TSK. The two companies have long-term cooperation and agreed to support each other. . The industry is highly concerned about the impact of the suspension of production by the SUMCO Chitose Plant on TSK and the impact on other manufacturers such as Globalwafers and Wafer Works.
Semiconductor silicon wafers account for the largest share of raw materials for IC manufacturing. In 2015, the global semiconductor wafer market was about US$8 billion, Japan's Shin-Etsu and SUMCO accounted for more than 50% of sales. Taiwan's Globalwafers acquired Topsil and SunEdisonSemi in 2016, becoming the world's third largest supplier of semiconductor wafers, and currently the sales share of the top six wafer factories has reached 92%, the semiconductor wafer market has been monopolized by giants.
In the previous 311 earthquake in Japan, the suspension of production of Shin-Etsu led to a shortage of semiconductor silicon wafers in the world. Now, the SUMCO Chitose plant has been shut down, the entire industry is in a state of tension.
It is understood that SUMCO Chitose Factory produces 8 inch and 6 inch wafers with a monthly capacity of about 200,000 pieces. Industry insiders pointed out that the SUMCO Chitose plant shutdown will have an impact on the supply and demand of the 8-inch silicon wafer market. The supply and demand of 8-inch silicon wafers was very tight, and now it will be even more tense. The industry believes that SUMCO Chitose can not resume work quickly, 6-inch and 8-inch silicon wafers may face a price increase.
According to industry sources, MOSFETs, automotive ICs, power management ICs, and applications such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence may be produced using 8-inch wafers. The suspension of the SUMCO Chitose plant may affect the production of these ICs.