Taiwan still the world's biggest IC material buyer

From : Taipei Times

Taiwan was the largest buyer of integrated circuit (IC) production materials in the world for the seventh consecutive year last year, the US-based Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Institute (SEMI) said yesterday.

Taiwan’s integrated circuit material purchases came to US$9.79 billion, vaulting the nation into the top spot, SEMI data showed.
SEMI said the ranking and the 3.9 percent year-on-year growth in purchases was the result of strong competitiveness in wafer foundry operations, and IC packaging and testing services.
Foundry operator Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) is the largest contract chip-maker in the world, while Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光半導體) is the largest IC packaging and testing services provider.

South Korea came in second with US$7.11 billion in purchases, ahead of Japan with US$6.74 billion, SEMI said.
China bought US$6.53 billion in IC materials to become the world’s No. 4 buyer, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, the largest year-on-year growth among all nations and regions worldwide, SEMI data showed.
The IC production material market generated US$44.3 billion in sales last year, up 2.4 percent from a year earlier, with wafer foundry production material sales at US$24.7 billion and IC packaging and testing material sales at US$19.6 billion, SEMI said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance data showed that semiconductor products accounted for 30.7 percent of Taiwan’s total exports of US$280.40 billion last year, the highest ratio in the nation’s history and nearly double the 15.2 percent seen in 2005.

The ministry said the semiconductor sector was also instrumental in helping Taiwan end a slump in July last year of 17 consecutive months in which exports fell year-on-year.

IC manufacturers have since aggressively increased capacity by buying production materials — including production equipment — to meet recovering demand, the ministry said.
However, the ministry said that the IC sector’s high share of exports reflected the economy’s heavy dependence on it and a potential imbalance in industrial development, adding that more industrial diversification is needed.

In terms of global IC export share, Taiwan had a 14.7 percent share of global IC exports in 2015, the fourth-highest, trailing China (19.9 percent), Hong Kong (18.4 percent) and Singapore (16.0 percent), ministry data showed.

South Korea took fifth place with a 10.8 percent share.
The ministry said China, whose share of global IC exports rose from only 5.9 percent in 2005 to more than three times that in 2015, has emerged as a strong competitor.

Including Hong Kong, China accounts for nearly 40 percent of global IC exports, showing its formidable strength, and with Beijing moving aggressively to cultivate its own IC supply chain, its threat to Taiwan is expected to loom even larger, the ministry said.