LONDON—The Washington-based Semiconductor Industry Association has released wafer manufacturing capacity statistics for the second quarter that show a drop of 14 percent in the world's chip manufacturing capacity compared with the first quarter.
However, the report emphasizes that the participation base has changed "significantly" compared to previous SICAS statistics reports, and does not provide any percentage growth statistics compared with the previous quarter or the same quarter a year before.
The 2Q11 report, just published by the Semiconductor Industry Association (Washington, DC), shows that manufacturing capacity utilization was at 92.2 percent but meaningful comparisons with previous quarters are not possible due to the changed participation.
The most notable change is that Taiwanese companies Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) and Nanya Technology Corp. are no longer listed as participating in the SICAS program. In addition, the latest report does not include a break out of foundry manufacturing capacity or manufacturing capacity utilization. National Semiconductor has also disappeared from the participants listing due to its acquisition by Texas Instruments.
"TSMC has ceased to participate in the program. As result the other two companies ceased to participate," said Ebun Caldeira, director of finance and market research at SIA. Caldeira declined to say why TSMC has pulled out. "We do have some efforts underway to get TSMC to rejoin," she said.
Caldeira said it might be possible to restate the Q2 data retrospectively if TSMC could be persuaded to rejoin quickly.
The report has been produced considerably later than was the case for second quarter reports in years prior to 2011. It shows that total semiconductor manufacturing capacity was 1.93 million eight-inch equivalent wafer starts per week (WspW) while the equivalent figure for 1Q11 was 2.25 million WspW.
According to Bill McClean, president of market research firm IC Insights Inc., the SICAS stats now represent only about 57 percent of the world's total semiconductor fab manufacturing capacity, down from about 88 percent when the organization first began publishing manufacturing stats in the 1990s. Prior to the recent defection of TSMC, UMC and Nanya, SICAS stats represented more than 70 percent of the world's chip making capacity.
"It's getting less and less representative of the world's capacity, which is unfortunate because it was a useful tool," McClean said. He added that the stats published by SICAS still may be useful in gauging capacity utilization levels, since the companies that remain in the program are likely pretty representative of overall capacity utilization.
Asked why he thought the Taiwanese companies opted out of the program, McClean said it may be because TSMC and UMC represent such a huge portion of the world's foundry capacity and no longer wanted such detailed information on their manufacturing published each month.
Years ago, McClean noted, the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization stopped breaking out programmable logic statistics, mainly because two dominant firms, Xilinx Inc. and Altera Corp., had emerged in that area and no longer wanted to make available detailed information about their sales each month. McClean speculated that TSMC and UMC may have had similar feelings about the breakout of foundry manufacturing data, though, as he noted, both companies release detailed sales information on a monthly basis.
"Other than that, I don't know why they wouldn't participate," McClean said.
The SICAS report shows that the second quarter global semiconductor manufacturing capacity utilization was 92.2 percent, only slightly down on the 93.7 percent recorded against in the first quarter.
The report shows that more mature processes, above 120-nm critical dimensions, and production on 200-mm wafers are more readily available with capacity utilization running at between 80 and 90 percent.
More leading-edge processes below 120-nm critical dimensions and production on 300-mm wafers are generally above 90 percent utilization. Manufacturing capacity below 50-nm in 2Q11 was 985,000 WspW, or about half the global semiconductor manufacturing total capacity. The manufacturing capacity utilization was 96.7 percent. The 300-mm manufacturing capacity was 1.11 million WspW and the capacity utilization was 95.6 percent.
SICAS was set up in 1994 by the world's leading semiconductor industry associations and has been sponsored by these associations ever since, but the program is run and managed by a committee of industry representatives. It now appears that the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association is no longer participating.
-- Dylan McGrath contributed to this story from San Francisco.
This may be overly simplistic, but public companies must report once every quarter. Just change the report from monthly to quarterly - data can be extrapolated based on previous reports, new equipment purchases, supply purchases etc.
Reminds me of the old adage: Garbage In = Garbage Out. More correctly, it is a reminder to take all studies and surveys and statistics information with a healthy dose of skepticism UNLESS you know the real constituents of the data. Without the data constituent knowledge, you can only extrapolate gross trends.
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