Taiwan had the most installed wafer production capacity of any country in the world for the first time last year, surpassing Japan and South Korea, according to IC Insights.
In a report released last week, IC Insights, a US-based semiconductor research firm, said Taiwan had the capacity to produce 2.86 million eight-inch equivalent wafers a month last year, accounting for 21 percent of global capacity.
The figure was higher than Japan’s 19.7 percent and South Korea’s 16.8 percent, IC Insights said.
Japan’s monthly capacity stood at 2.68 million eight-inch equivalent wafers, ahead of South Korea’s 2.29 million units.
The growth in Taiwan’s wafer capacity was the result of expansion by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the top two contract chip makers in the world.
According to TSMC, its annual capacity rose 17 percent last year from a year earlier to 12.97 million eight-inch equivalent wafers. UMC had an annual capacity of 5.32 million eight-inch equivalent units last year, up 11 percent from 2010.
In Taiwan, 12-inch wafers accounted for 64.6 percent of its total capacity last year, while eight-inch wafers made up 29.2 percent and six-inch wafers represented another 6.1 percent, IC Insights said.
Last year, Taiwan had a 25.4 percent share of global 12-inch wafer capacity, an 18.7 percent global share of eight-inch wafer capacity and an 11.4 percent global share of six-inch wafer capacity, the research firm said.