Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments increased by 22% in 2004 when compared to 2003 area shipments according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) in its year-end analysis of the silicon wafer industry. Revenues also grew by 26 percent in 2004 compared to 2003.
Silicon wafer area shipments in 2004 totalled 6,262 million square inches (MSI), up from the 5,149 million square inches shipped during 2003. Revenues grew to $7.3 billion from $5.8 billion posted in 2003. Fourth quarter silicon area shipments declined 9% from the prior quarter though were 7% higher than the fourth quarter of 2003.
“2004 was a very robust growth year for the silicon wafer suppliers as both units and revenue grew at over 20 percent,” said Makoto Tsukada, chairman SEMI SMG and general manager of Shin-Etsu Handotai Company.
“Even though 300mm wafer shipments were over 15 percent of the total shipments by the fourth quarter and total wafer shipments surpassed the 2000 peak, total revenues in 2004 for silicon wafers were below the 2000 level,” continued Tsukada. “As a result, wafer manufacturers remain cautious investing in new production capacity.”
SMG says it’s figures include polished silicon wafers, including virgin test wafers, epitaxial silicon wafers, and non-polished silicon wafers shipped by wafer manufacturers to end-users.
Silicon wafers are the fundamental building material for semiconductors. The highly engineered thin round disks are produced in various diameters – from one inch to 12 inches – and serve as the substrate material on which most semiconductor devices or “chips” are fabricated.