TOKYO -- The worldwide blank silicon wafer market is expected to rebound after a horrific year in 2001, but the business is not projected to grow as fast as vendors would like in 2002, according to a new report from Dataquest Inc. here today.
Worldwide silicon wafer revenues totaled $5.4 billion in 2001, a 31% decline from $7.8 billion in 2000, according to Dataquest, based in San Jose.
"Clearly, 2001 was a severe year for the silicon wafer industry. Such a dreary double-digit decline in million square inches (MSIs) demand had not been seen since 1985," said Takashi Ogawa, who tracks the market for Dataquest.
"At the same time, however, the year marked the burgeoning of the 300-mm wafer market, which showed significant presence for the first time," he said. "In fact, if it weren't for commercial shipments of the premium price product, the entire wafer market would have sunk more deeply due to the across-the-board declines in demand and price for standard products."
Gartner Dataquest analysts said the market will begin to see increased sales in 2002, "but it won't be as quick as manufacturers would like."
"300-mm wafer demand will grow moderately in 2002 and will ramp up in 2003," Ogawa said. "As the 300-mm ramp looms, major players will accelerate the move toward the industry's reorganization. As a result, we expect the industry's market share structure, which was relatively unchanged in the past decade, could change appreciably in the next three to five years," he added.
At the same time, the current downturn in the IC market caused a reshuffling in the worldwide rankings among vendors in 2001.
Japan's Shin-Etsu Handotai (SEH) remained the top silicon wafer supplier in terms of worldwide market share, with 27.9% of the business in 2001, up from 23.9% in 2000, according to Dataquest. SEH's sales were $1.501 billion in 2001, down 19.4% from 2000, according to Dataquest.
Germany's Wacker Siltronic AG maintained the No. 2 posit ion in the market and experienced a slight gain in market share in 2001. But Japan's Sumitomo Metal Industries moved past U.S.-based MEMC Electronics Materials into the No. 3 ranking, the report said.
MEMC fell to fourth place, while Japan's Mitsubishi Materials Silicon was in fifth. Earlier this year, Sumitomo Metal Industries and Mitsubishi Materials merged to form Silicon United Manufacturing Corp. (SUMCO).