SMIC becomes the world’s second largest wafer foundry · TechNode

Shanghai-based chip foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) on Thursday unveiled its first quarter financial results, revealing that the state-owned company achieved a revenue of $1.75 billion, representing a 19.7% year-on-year increase. This result marks the first time that SMIC surpassed both United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and GlobalFoundries in quarterly revenue, with the two Taiwan-based firms reporting revenues of $1.71 billion and $1.549 billion respectively for the same period.

The ranking does not include IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturer) companies such as Intel and Samsung.

Why it matters: Amid US sanctions on Chinese chip development, SMIC’s growth signals China’s efforts to strengthen its domestic semiconductor capabilities and reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.

Details: Its first quarter financial results place SMIC second among the world’s wafer foundries, albeit with a considerable gap to TSMC, which reported a revenue of $18.262 billion for the same period.

  • In the first quarter, SMIC shipped 1.79 million units of 8-inch wafers, a 7% increase compared to the previous quarter. The company’s capacity utilization rate reached 80.8%, up by 4% quarter-on-quarter.
  • Revenue distribution across chip-related business segments is as follows: smartphones account for 31.2%, computers and tablets for 17.5%, consumer electronics for 30.9%, IoT (Internet of Things) and wearables for 13.2%, and industrial and automotive for 7.2%. 
  • Revenue from China makes up 81.6% of the firm’s total, while the US contributes 14.9%, and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region accounts for 3.5%.
  • However, SMIC’s net profit for the quarter plummeted by 68.9% compared to the previous year, to $71.8 million. The semiconductor industry as a whole witnessed a substantial decline in profits in early 2024 due to product price drops and inventory backlog, according to local media outlet Jiemian. SMIC told Jiemian that this net profit decline was primarily due to shifts in product assortment, depreciation, and diminished investment returns.
  • SMIC CEO Zhao Haijun disclosed that the company received urgent orders from customers in the smartphone and computer sectors in the first quarter, the same Jiemian report said. Efforts are underway to coordinate orders from lower-priority customers for delayed processing, and the 12nm chip production line is almost at full capacity, Zhao said.

Context: Thanks to the AI-related needs of Nvidia and AMD, orders of TSMC’s advanced packaging capacity, including Chip-on-Wafer-on-Substrate (CoWoS) and System-on-Integrated-Chip (SoIC), have been fully booked for 2024 and 2025, according to an Economic Daily News report from last week. TSMC predicts a compound annual growth rate of 50% for AI chips over the next five years. By 2028, AI chip orders are expected to contribute over 20% to the company’s total revenue.

Avatar photo

Jessie Wu is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. She covers consumer electronics, semiconductor, and the gaming industry for TechNode. Connect with her via e-mail:
More by Jessie Wu

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top