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Research: China Was the Only Market to See Pure-Play Foundry Growth in 2019

(Image credit: IC Insights)

China was the only region where fabless IC companies grew in 2019, according to research by IC Insights shared Thursday. The Chinese pure-play foundry market grew 6%, which wasn’t enough to offset the overall 2% market decline.

Pure-play foundry sales in China increased by 6% in 2019 to $11.4 billion. The region increased its market share to 20%, which is 6 percentage points higher than in 2017. IC Insights noted that the economic growth in China slowed last year due to the U.S. - China trade war, which is why its share grew just 1 point in 2019, compared to the 5 point increase in 2018. The rest of Asia didn’t see growth.

China was the only region where foundry sales grew. Europe and Japan, although the smallest regions, declined the most. Those markets fell by 11% and 13%, respectively. The Americas, the largest foundry region, saw a 2% decline in sales to $30.8 billion.

The numbers are corroborated by the foundries. TSMC reported that 25% of its over 400 customers were based in China in 2019. Both TSMC and UMC saw a double-digit sales increase to Chinese customers. UMC's 19% jump was driven by the ramp of its Fab 12X. SMIC’s sales dropped 8% in China, on the other hand, although the company’s overall sales decreased by 7% anyway.