Looking at the development of the global SiC (silicon carbide) industry, IDMs in Europe and the United States occupy an absolute leading position, with the United States accounting for more than half of the market share in the substrate material sector. In order to ensure long-term and stable development of the SiC business, major manufacturers have also successively intervened in key upstream substrate materials in an effort to control the supply chain. Therefore, vertical integration has become an important trend in the development of the SiC industry. The global market value of SiC power semiconductors is estimated to be approximately US$1.589 billion in 2022 and will reach US$5.302 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 35%.
Wolfspeed holds more than half the world’s SiC substrate market share and is first to move to 8-inch wafers
SiC substrates are characterized by difficult growth conditions, arduous processing, and high technical thresholds, which have become a key constraint on downstream production capacity. At present, only a few manufacturers such as Wolfspeed, ROHM, ON Semi, and STM have the ability to independently produce SiC crystals. From the perspective of SiC substrate market share in 2021, the leading players in order of market share are: Wolfspeed at 62%, II-VI at 14%, SiCrystal at 13%, SK Siltron at 5%, and TankeBlue at 4%.
Increasing the number of components on a single wafer is one of the main methods of further reducing the cost of SiC power components, so the industry is fully promoting 8-inch transformation. 8-inch SiC wafers have issues such as difficult material growth, laborious dicing, and losses during dicing. At this stage, yield rate is low. Therefore, 8-inch SiC wafers will not have much impact on the industry in the short term but, in the long run, with breakthroughs in material growth and process yield, the final chip cost of 8-inch wafers will inevitably present great advantages.
SiC MOSFET market highly competitive, STM comes out on top
With the successful application of high-quality 6H-SiC and 4H-SiC epitaxial layer growth technology in the 1990s, the research and development of various SiC power components entered a period of rapid development, leading to their current ubiquity in sectors such as the automotive and industrial fields. From the perspective of competition patterns in the SiC power component market, as Tesla’s first SiC supplier, STM took first place in 2021 with a market share of 41%, Infineon took second place with 22%, followed by Wolfspeed, ROHM, ON Semi and other manufacturers.
TrendForce indicates, from the perspective of SiC MOSFET technology, trench structure’s powerful cost and performance advantages will see it become the mainstream technology in the future. Infineon and ROHM have been working on this a long time and these two companies have successively introduced this structure to the market as core products. STM, Wolfspeed, and On Semi still employ planar structures at this stage but their next generation products will also move to trench structures.