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Taiwan maintains edge as largest base for IC wafer capacity, says IC Insights

As of December 2020, Taiwan led the world with 21.4% of global wafer capacity installed in that country, according to IC Insights. In second place was South Korea, which accounted for 20.4% of global wafer capacity.

Taiwan was the capacity leader at 200mm wafers. For 300mm wafers, South Korea was at the forefront followed closely by Taiwan, IC Insights noted. Samsung and SK Hynix continue to aggressively expand their fabs in South Korea to support their high-volume DRAM and NAND flash businesses.

Taiwan surpassed South Korea in 2015 to become the largest capacity holder having passed Japan in 2011. Taiwan is expected to remain the largest region for wafer capacity through 2025, IC Insights indicated. The country is forecast to add nearly 1.4 million 200mm equivalent wafers in monthly fab capacity between 2020 and 2025.

At the end of 2020, China held 15.3% of the world's capacity, which was nearly the same as Japan, IC Insights said. It is expected that China will surpass Japan in 2021 in terms of the amount of installed capacity.

China is forecast to be the only region that gains percentage points of capacity share from 2020 to 2025 (3.7pp), IC Insights indicated. While expectations have been tempered for the roll out of the large new Chinese-led DRAM and NAND fabs, there is also a substantial amount of wafer capacity coming to China over the next few years from memory manufacturers headquartered in other countries and from local IC manufacturers.

The share of capacity in North America is projected to decline over the forecast period as the region's large fabless supplier industry continues to rely on foundries, primarily those based in Taiwan, according to IC Insights. Europe's share of capacity is also expected to continue slowly shrinking.