Silicon for Chips in Good Supply

Ford is still limiting production because of a chip shortage, but Tim Cook of Apple and Christiano Amon of Qualcomm are both saying the problem is mostly resolved.

Silicon wafer shipments in 2021 increased 14%, about three times the economic growth rate. The chip foundries reported a similar 15% production increase.

The chart at left, from Sravan Kundojjala of Strategy Analytics, shows that China’s SMIC shipments increased 19%, measured by silicon volume. Taiwan’s TSMC shipments increased 14%.

Taiwan Semiconductor and Samsung each plan a big increase in chip capex to over $40 billion in 2022. Capex plans almost guarantee that capacity and production will grow very rapidly.

Chip demand is growing at a faster rate than the economy. Cars are becoming computers on wheels. Production capacity is growing even faster. A substantial volume of chips are rebuilding inventory.

I can’t predict whether shortages mostly will end in 3 months or in 18 months. The best analsyts aren’t sure either. Different types of chips will reach supply equilibrium at different times. The second half of 2022 is a reasonable guess for catchup but only a guess.

Apple’s bigger problem now is assemblers, not components. Supplier Foxconn is offering $1300 bonuses to attract new employees.

PRESS RELEASE: Worldwide Silicon Wafer Shipments and Revenue Set New Records in 2021, SEMI Reports

Worldwide Silicon Wafer Shipments and Revenue Set New Records in 2021, SEMI ReportsMILPITAS, Calif. — February 8, 2022 — Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments in 2021 increased 14% while wafer revenue rose 13% compared to 2020, topping $12 billion, to reach new all-time highs, the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) reported in its year-end analysis of the silicon wafer industry.
Silicon shipments totaled 14,165 million square inches (MSI) compared to 12,407 MSI shipped in 2020 to meet surging broad-based demand for semiconductor devices and a wide variety of applications. 300mm, 200mm and 150mm wafer sizes all saw strong demand. Wafer revenue reached $12,617 million, surpassing the previous record of $12,129 million set in 2007.“The robust year-over-year growth in silicon wafer area shipments and revenue reflects the heavy dependence of the modern economy on silicon wafers,” said Neil Weaver, outgoing chairman SEMI SMG 2018-2021 and vice president, Product Development and Applications Engineering at Shin Etsu Handotai America. “Wafers are the engine of digital transformation and new technologies that are reshaping how we live and work.
 All data cited in this release includes polished silicon wafers such as virgin test wafers and epitaxial silicon wafers, as well as non-polished silicon wafers shipped to end users.Silicon wafers are the fundamental building material for the majority of semiconductors, which are vital components of all electronic devices. The highly engineered thin disks are produced in diameters of up to 12 inches and serve as the substrate material on which most semiconductor devices, or chips, are fabricated.
The SMG is a sub-committee of the SEMI Electronic Materials Group (EMG) and is open to SEMI members involved in manufacturing polycrystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon or silicon wafers (e.g., as cut, polished, epi). The SMG facilitates collective efforts on issues related to the silicon industry including the development of market information and statistics about the silicon industry and the semiconductor market.For more information, please visit SEMI Worldwide Silicon Wafer Shipment Statistics.
About SEMISEMI® connects more than 2,400 member companies and 1.3 million professionals worldwide to advance the technology and business of electronics design and manufacturing. SEMI members are responsible for the innovations in materials, design, equipment, software, devices, and services that enable smarter, faster, more powerful, and more affordable electronic products. Electronic System Design Alliance (ESD Alliance), FlexTech, the Fab Owners Alliance (FOA), the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG) and SOI Consortium are SEMI Strategic Technology Communities. Visit www.semi.org to learn more, contact one of our worldwide offices, and connect with SEMI on LinkedIn and Twitter.Association ContactMichael Hall/SEMI
Phone: 1.408.943.7988
Email: mhall@semi.org
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