While foundry sales in the USA rose only slightly by 2 percent in 2019 and Asia remained at the 2018 level according to the latest study by IC Insights, China's market share in the global foundry business jumped from 5 percent in 2017 to 19 percent in 2018, outperforming the rest of the Asia-Pacific region by 5 percentage points. However, China suffered from the trade war with the USA in 2019, so that China's share of the foundry market increased only slightly by 1 percentage point to 20 percent last year.
Sales of pure-play foundries within China jumped by as much as 42 percent to USD 10.7 billion in 2018. By comparison, the global foundry market as a whole grew by only 5 percent in 2018. In 2019, foundry sales worldwide to China climbed by 6 percent - 8 percentage points higher than the 2 percent decline in pure play foundry sales worldwide in 2019.
In 2019, TSMC announced that 25 percent of its more than 400 customers will come from China. Both TSMC and its Taiwan-based rival UMC were able to increase revenues from customers in China by double-digit percentages in 2019. UMC recorded the highest sales growth of 19 percent, mainly because the company has continuously ramped up its Fab 12X in Xiamen, China, since the start of 2016. The current capacity of UMC's Fab is estimated by IC Insights at 22,700 wafer starts (300 mm) per month.
In contrast, according to IC Insights, many customers of the Chinese foundry SMIC have been rather weakened. SMIC's sales in China fell by 8 percent in 2019, and the company's global sales fell by 7 percent overall.