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China Set to Overtake South Korea as a Country with the Largest Semiconductor Production Capacity

Major semiconductor manufacturers worldwide are expected to drive steady growth in semiconductor production capacity over the next three years, with China predicted to take the top spot in market share. The International Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Association (SEMI) forecasts that 12-inch (300mm) semiconductor production capacity will reach a record high of 9.4 million wafers per month in 2026.

SEMI notes that the growth rate for global 12-inch semiconductor capacity is expected to be relatively low this year at 6%, due to weak demand for memory and system semiconductors. However, the growth rate is projected to continue increasing stepwise until 2026, with the foundry, memory, and power semiconductor sectors leading the capacity increases.

SEMI highlights that major companies such as TSMC, Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and Intel plan to build 82 new facilities and lines from this year to 2026, contributing to the projected increase in capacities.

China’s government investment in the legacy process, despite US export restrictions, is expected to propel its capacity market share from 22% in 2022 to 25% in 2026, overtaking South Korea as the top market share holder. Meanwhile, Korea’s market share is expected to decline from 25% to 23% due to sluggish demand in the memory market, and Taiwan’s share is forecast to drop from 22% to 21%. Japan’s market share is also expected to decrease from 13% to 12%, despite active investments such as the establishment of a joint venture with TSMC.

SEMI’s report in the second half of last year projected that China’s 12-inch semiconductor capacity would grow from 19% in 2021 to 23% in 2025, surpassing Taiwan to rank second in market share and falling behind Korea by 1%. The report predicted that China would take the top spot in capacity share in three years, reflecting China’s active response to increasing regulations by the US and increasing funding for companies such as SMIC, Huahong Semiconductor, and Huawei.

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