SAN JOSE, California -- Silicon wafer area shipments during the second quarter 2003 increased worldwide by 8 percent when compared to the first quarter 2003 according to the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International industry organization.
Total silicon wafer area shipments were 1,273 million square inches during the most recent quarter, up from the 1,175 million square inches shipped during the previous quarter and equal to the second quarter 2002 area shipments.
The breakdown for the second quarter of 2003 was: polished wafers 944 million squares inches, epitaxial wafers 270 milliopn square inches and non-polished wafers 59 million square inches.
The Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG), which collates the numbers, represents more than 95 percent of the total worldwide semiconductor silicon production, SEMI said.
"The second consecutive quarter of expansion in silicon consumption clearly indicates we are entering a new growth cycle following the worst downturn in the semiconductor industry," said Volker Braetsch, vice president strategic planning and communication at Wacker Siltronic and chairman of SEMI SMG, in a statement. "There appears to be a tight supply of 300-mm silicon wafers; the primary growth driver for silicon producers. Furthermore, as additional IC fabs become operational, we may see further tightening of supply in the short- and mid-term. For smaller diameters, including 200-mm wafer, the silicon industry is already at capacity limits."
"Although the wafer area shipments are near the historic peak reached in the fourth quarter of 2000, silicon industry revenues are far behind," said Braetsch. "The worldwide silicon market is in the range of US$5 billion to US$6 billion per year. Yet, our industry has generated a combined US$5 billion of negative net cash flow during the last five years alone, which has forced silicon suppliers to take significant amount of manufacturing capacities off-line. We are concerned that the availability of silicon might become decisive in carrying growth momentum further into the next years."