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.
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Although the overall economy is unstable, the use of automotive MCUs is still increasing gradually due to electric and smart vehicle trends. In order to meet market demand, IDMs have strengthened their investment in production resources. There will also be volume and price growth in 2022. Overall market size is estimated to reach US$8.58 billion, with an annual growth rate of 25.7%.
Automotive MCU market dominated by major international IDMs, 32-bit penetration rate will reach 80.1% in 2022
NXP, Renesas, and Infineon account for approximately 70% of global automotive MCU market share. In 2022, NXP will focus on the development of its S32 series and presented a S32M test chip featuring TSMC’s 5nm process, symbolizing a major milestone in the development of automotive chips. Renesas is focusing on its RH850 series, supplemented by the Low Power RL78 to stabilize development. Infineon’s automotive MCU development is focused on its AURIX series which features a self-developed TriCore core and is designed to perform mid-to-high-level automotive system control.
In general, major international IDMs have a complete line of automotive MCUs. With the increasing number of automotive functions, requirements for MCU computing power have advanced. Considering the optimization of major manufacturers’ product portfolios, the penetration rate of 32-Bit MCUs will also increase year by year and is forecast to grow to 80.1% in 2022.
Nuvoton ranks among top ten MCUs producers worldwide, Taiwanese manufacturers’ operations suffer headwinds after tide of shortages recedes
Taiwanese MCU manufacturers are represented by Nuvoton, Holtek, and Sonix. There are other manufacturers such as Generalplus, Nyquest, Hycon, and Megawin but their revenue scale is small and proportion of MCU is low. Overall, only Nuvoton is an IDM with a MCU market share ranked among the top ten in the world and readily available automotive MCU products.
Taiwanese manufacturers mainly focus on mid-to-low-end consumer electronics applications with low barriers to entry. Most of them are fabless manufacturers, meaning the barriers to entry for capital are also low. Therefore, it is difficult to compare their product portfolios with major international manufacturers. After the shortage of semiconductors subsided, operation in 1H22 inevitably encountered headwinds and demand for consumer electronics in 2H22 will continue to be weak, signaling the arrival of a cold winter for the consumer MCU market.
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