The semiconductor industry is the aggregate of companies engaged in the
A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype, product, or process. The verb ''to design'' ...
A semiconductor is a material which has an electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a electrical conductor, conductor, such as copper, and an insulator (electricity), insulator, such as glas ...
s and semiconductor devices
, such as transistors
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, usually silicon. Large numbers of ti ...
s. It formed around 1960, once the fabrication
of semiconductor devices
became a viable business. The industry's annual semiconductor sales revenue has since grown to over , as of 2018.
The semiconductor industry is in turn the driving force behind the wider
The electronics industry is the economic sector that produces electronic devices. It emerged in the 20th century and is today one of the largest global industries. Contemporary society uses a vast array of electronic devices built-in automated or ...
, with annual
Power electronics is the application of electronics to the control and conversion of electric power.
The first high-power electronic devices were made using mercury-arc valves. In modern systems, the conversion is performed with semiconducto ...
sales of £135billion () as of 2011, annual
Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic ( analog or digital) equipment intended for everyday use, typically in private homes. Consumer electronics include devices used for entertainment
Entertainment is a form of ac ...
sales expected to reach by 2020, tech industry
sales expected to reach in 2019, and
E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of Product (business), products on online services or over the Internet. E-commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, su ...
with over in 2017. In 2019, 32.4% of the semiconductor market segment was for networks and communications devices.
In 2021, the sales of semiconductors reached a record $555.9 billion, up 26.2 percent with sales in China reaching $192.5 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association
. A record 1.15 trillion semiconductor units were shipped in the calendar year. The semiconductors is projected to reach $ 726.73 billion by 2027.
The global semiconductor industry is dominated by companies from the
The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is formed ...
Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north ...
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Unique features of the industry include continuous growth but in a cyclical pattern with high volatility. While the current 20 year annual average growth of the semiconductor industry is on the order of 13%, this has been accompanied by equally above-average market volatility, which can lead to significant if not dramatic cyclical swings. This has required the need for high degrees of flexibility and innovation in order to constantly adjust to the rapid pace of change in the market as many products embedding semiconductor devices often have a very short life cycle.
At the same time, the rate of constant price-performance improvement in the semiconductor industry is staggering. As a consequence, changes in the semiconductor market not only occur extremely rapidly but also anticipate changes in industries evolving at a slower pace. The semiconductor industry is widely recognized as a key driver and technology enabler for the whole electronics value chain.
The industry is based on the foundry model
, which consists of semiconductor fabrication plant
s (foundries) and integrated circuit design operations, each belonging to separate companies or subsidiaries. Some companies, known as integrated device manufacturer
s, both design and manufacture semiconductors. The foundry model has resulted in consolidation
among foundries. As of 2021, only three firms are able to manufacture the most advanced semiconductors: TSMC
The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성 ) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affi ...
of South Korea, and
Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Santa Clara, California. It is the world's largest semiconductor chip manufacturer by revenue, and is one of the devel ...
of the United States.
Part of this is due to the high capital costs of building foundries. TSMC's latest factory, capable of fabricating 3 nm process
semiconductors and completed in 2020, cost $19.5 billion.
Intel is considering outsourcing some production to TSMC. It currently can only produce 10 nm semiconductors, while TSMC and Samsung can both produce 5 nm.
, an American-headquartered firm, uses a 12 nm process for its most advanced chips due to the rapidly increasing development costs of smaller process nodes.
* Pure-play foundries
They specialize in
A foundry is a factory that produces metal casting (metalworking), castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal into a mold, and removing the mold material after the metal has solidified as it cools. T ...
services. They may or may not offer design services to third parties, as well as mask (
A photomask is an opaque plate with holes or transparencies that allow light to shine through in a defined pattern. They are commonly used in photolithography and the production of integrated circuits (ICs or "chips") in particular. Masks are used ...
) making, semiconductor packaging and testing services, which can also be outsourced to other companies. An example is TSMC, which offers design, testing and packaging services, TCE phtomasks, which offers only mask making services, and ChipMOS, which offers only packaging and testing services.
*IDMs ( integrated device manufacturer
s) They may or may not offer foundry services.
suppliers They do not offer foundry services. They may or may not offer design services to third parties.
Manufacturers headquartered in the following places are the sales leaders in the pure-play foundry
(integrated device manufacturing), fabless manufacturing
(outsourced semiconductor assembly and testing) sectors of the industry.
Note that manufacturers headquartered in the United States have fabrication plants across the world, including over 50% in the
The Americas, which are sometimes collectively called America, are a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. ...
, 39% in the
Asia-Pacific (APAC) is the part of the world near the western Pacific Ocean. The Asia-Pacific region varies in area depending on the context, but it often includes countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania that border the Pacific ...
region (including 9% in Japan), and 9% in Europe.
* Electronic design automation
* List of semiconductor fabrication plants
* Foundry model
* Semiconductor consolidation
Semiconductor device fabrication
Semiconductor device fabrication is the process used to manufacture semiconductor devices, typically integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set ...
* Semiconductor fabrication plant
* Semiconductor Industry Association
* Semiconductor industry in India
* Semiconductor industry in Taiwan
* Semiconductor industry in China
The transistor count is the number of transistors in an electronic device (typically on a single substrate or "chip"). It is the most common measure of integrated circuit complexity (although the majority of transistors in modern microprocessors ...
Semiconductor device fabrication
"The Silicon Age: Trends in Semiconductor Devices Industry