Analyst: Big 4 still rule foundry roost, but Samsung moving up

May 6, 2008 – The top four foundries stayed comfortably ahead of the pack in 2007, with SMIC and Chartered still battling for third place behind TSMC and UMC, according to IC Insights. But making a big push into the top 10 is a big-name IDM with a burgeoning foundry biz of its own.

TSMC is still far and away the top foundry in terms of sales — more than 2.5x the size of closest rival UMC (~$9.8B vs. ~$3.8B), and only 11% less than all the other top 14 foundries combined. Nearly everyone else had a better year in terms of growth, though. SMIC retook the No.3 spot back from Chartered with 6% growth during the year, while Chartered saw sales slip -4.5%. Together, the “top four” firms accounted for roughly two-thirds (68%) of the total foundry market.

IDMs made up 16% of the foundry market, led by TI which saw sales rise 4.3% to overtake IBM (-5.0%) for the fifth spot on the list. But the eye-popping number belongs to Samsung, where foundry sales soared >400% to $385M to crack the top 10. The firm said in 2006 it wanted to emphasize its foundry operation, and is being aided by a technology alliance with IBM and Chartered and a new dedicated 300mm wafer fab for foundry work.


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