LONDON Ė The top 20 MEMS foundries increased revenues by 5 percent in 2011 compared to 2010 to more than $600 million, according to market research firm Yole Development.
Foundry activity remains a relative small part of the total MEMS market which Yole estimates to be have been worth $10.2 billion in 2011, and its market share diminished as the total MEMS market grew 17 percent on an annual basis.
However, a number of companies prospered in the foundry ranks in 2011. ST continued to dominate, growing its foundry sales by 19.9 percent to $244.6 billion. Sony, Silex Microsystems and Teledyne Dalsa also did well to take positions 2 to 4 and pull away from the rest of the foundry companies.
Sony leaped up the table from 8th position in 2010 to become the second largest MEMS foundry with $49 million in revenues thanks to strong business for MEMS microphones for mobile devices from customer Knowles Electronics.
Silex Microsystems' revenues increased by 27 percent to $47 billion but still lost one place to be third. Teledyne Dalsa enjoyed 23 percent growth to $37 million in revenue and this prompted a climb from 6th to 4th spot. TSV technology has been a big driver for Silex' foundry business, Yole said.
A lot of the traditional specialist MEMS foundries lost sales revenue if not to competition then to price erosion and thereby lost market share. And these companies are likely to come under increased competition from CMOS foundries looking to diversify into MEMS, although this did not manifest itself to a great degree in the 2011 ranking.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. climbed from 8th place in 2010 to 6th with 15 percent MEMS revenue growth to $23 million. Xfab enjoyed a 33 percent increase in revenue to $16 million. UMC and Tower Semiconductor stayed stuck at $7 million in MEMS revenue each but analog IC maker Micrel made the top 20 foundries list with $4 million in revenues as it started volume production for a first customer, Yole said.
The company notable by its absence was GlobalFoundries Inc. GlobalFoundries is expected to show prominently in 2012 as it has qualified production for fabless MEMS company InvenSense, with volume ramp of several more customers expected to follow.
I am surprised to see Sony at the second spot. I never expected Sony would do so well in MEMS. I think it would be tough for the companies including Sony to beat the ST because ST is on a strong growth path.