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Silicon foundries surge to new revenue records, but Texas cold snap sent Samsung backwards

TSMC is well on truly on top with 55 percent market share

The world's top 10 semiconductor foundries set new records for combined revenue in 1Q21 by growing one percent quarter-on-quarter to reach US$22.75B, thanks to price hikes and full utilization of chip stocks, market research firm TrendForce said on Monday.

TSMC remained the top player in Q1 2021 with 55 percent of market share, followed by Samsung, UMC, and GlobalFoundries at 17, seven and five percent respectively.

TSMC was able to pick up a two percent increase in QoQ revenue, thanks to strong performance of its 7nm and 16/12nm nodes.

Samsung dropped by the same percentage, and Global Foundries dropped by 16 percent.

Samsung’s drop was attributed to the power outage that occurred in Texas last February and which caused the chaebol to shut down production lines resulting in a loss of 71,000 wafers valued between US$270M and US$360M. GlobalFoundries' double-digit drop was thanks to the company offloading its Singapore 8-inch wafer fab to VIS.

According to analyst firm IDC, worldwide semiconductor revenue grew almost 11 percent in 2020 to US$464B and is forecast to hit US$522B in 2021.

The current state of the semiconductor industry is unprecedented: a demand for technology to suit work-from-home and play-from-home electronic needs has led to stock shortages and maxed out production lines. The high demand has led to price hikes as the industry waits for new foundries to be built. Research firm Gartner predicts the shortage will last until Q2 2022.

KPMG’s Global Co-Head of Public Transport, Satya Ramamurthy, told The Register earlier this month via email:

Semiconductors have become as strategic as oil was in the 20th century.

TrendForce expects wafer prices to continue to rise along with revenue as foundries production capabilities remain the same and 2Q21 demand was high. Government directives to detour some production capabilities towards automotive chips may further reduce supply for electronics and other tech.

TrendForce predicts another one to three percent increase for top 10 foundry quarter-on-quarter total revenue in 2Q21. ®

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