The global market for silicon wafers has been treading on a steady growth path so far and in the years ahead too will continue doing so on the back of the solid demand for the consumer electronics and automotive sectors. However, the market growth is being hampered to an extent by the high initial investments. This has made entry barriers high and the competitive landscape consolidated – currently the top four companies hold about 70.0% share in it. High cost of 300 mm silicon wafers is another hurdle the market needs to overcome to grow sales.
A study by Transparency Market Research expects the global silicon wafers market would tread on steady yet not-so-impressive growth path by registering a CAGR of 6.8% over the course of the forecast period during 2017 and 2025. Rising at this pace, the market is projected to become worth US$14.21 mn by 2025.
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Silicon wafers come in different sizes of 100mm, 150mm, 200mm, and 300mm and above. In 2016, the segment of 300 mm and above wafers size held a leading share in the market. They are also expected to surpass the other segments vis-à-vis growth rate over the course of the forecast period. The 200 mm wafer size segment is also plays a pivotal role in the market and is expected to rise at a significant pace in the near future. This is because of their increasing application with progress in logic, analog, RFID, image sensors, microprocessors, and power opto-electronics devices.
Device-wise, the market for silicon wafers is classified into MEMS, beach logic and memory, CMOS, and RFID. The logic and memory segment, among them, is forecasted to outshine all others in terms of growth rate on the back of their rising uptake in various applications of IoT (Internet of Things) and the increasing usage of networking devices across the different part of the globe.
Depending upon the method of fabrication, the market is divided into horizontal gradient freeze, horizontal bridgeman freeze, etc. In 2016, segment of horizontal bridgeman freeze accounted for a leading share in the market. The segment is expected to grow at maximum pace in the years ahead too.
Asia Pacific is a leading region in the global market for silicon wafers. Its market value was worth US$4.77 bn in 2015. By 2025, by clocking the maximum CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period, it is expected to grow that value to US$9.60 bn by 2025. The dominance of the region is a result of the booming automotive and electronics market in the region, which are the key end-users of silicon wafers.
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North America also plays a pivotal role in the market for silicon wafers. The market in the region is expected to expand at a healthy clip in the upcoming years because of the presence of numerous semiconductor manufacturers driving up demand for silicon wafers. The market in North America is primarily powered by the U.S. where wafer size of 300mm and above are seeing soaring demand and will likely rise at a 7.9% CAGR over the course of the forecast period. Silicon wafers are finding application in CMOS and logic and memory in North America.
The leading four companies in the global silicon wafers market are SUMCO Corporation, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd., Siltronic AG, and SK Siltron Co., Ltd. Other key players in the market are Okmetic, Wafer World Inc., Global Wafers Co., Ltd., Silicon Materials Inc., Global Wafers Co., Ltd., Sil'tronix Silicon Technologies, and Wafer Works Corporation.