Silicon Wafer Shipments Set New Record in First Quarter of 2021

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First-quarter 2021 silicon wafer shipments saw 14 per cent growth from the 2,920 million square inches logged during the same quarter last year

Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments increased four per cent to 3,337 million square inches in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, topping the previous historical high set in the third quarter of 2018, according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) in its quarterly analysis of the silicon wafer industry.

“Logic and foundry continue to drive strong demand for silicon wafers. The memory market recovery further bolstered shipment growth in the first quarter of 2021,” said Neil Weaver, chairman SEMI SMG and Vice President, Product Development and Applications Engineering at Shin Etsu Handotai America.

First-quarter 2021 silicon wafer shipments saw 14 per cent growth from the 2,920 million square inches logged during the same quarter last year. Worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment had also surged 19 per cent from $59.8 billion in 2019 to a new all-time high of $71.2 billion in 2020.

For the first time, China had claimed the largest market for new semiconductor equipment with sales growth of 39 per cent to $18.72 billion. Sales in Taiwan, the second-largest equipment market, remained flat in 2020 with sales of $17.15 billion after showing strong growth in 2019. Korea registered 61% growth to $16.08 billion to maintain the third position. Annual spending also increased 21 per cent in Japan and 16 per cent in Europe as both regions are recovering from the contraction in 2019. Receipts in North America decreased 20% in 2020 following three years of consecutive growth.

Global sales of wafer processing equipment had risen 19 per cent in 2020, while other front-end segment sales grew four per cent. Assembly and packaging showed strong growth across all regions, resulting in a 34 per cent market increase in 2020, while total test equipment sales increased 20 per cent.

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