Both Samsung and Intel are staring at the “fat meat” of foundry, technology is the key

Nowadays, the impact of the global “chip shortage” is becoming more and more extensive, and foundry companies are trapped in the supply of raw materials in the industrial chain and cannot complete their existing production capacity. However, for the foundry industry, especially the pursuit of chip foundry has not decreased at all. At present, TSMC has the strongest chip manufacturing capability, followed by Samsung. Intel also said that it will return to the foundry market and plans to invest a lot.

Both Samsung and Intel are staring at the “fat meat” of foundry, technology is the key

Recently, some media reported that Samsung plans to triple its chip foundry production capacity by 2026, that is, double it again. It is reported that Samsung Electronics will increase the production capacity of the extreme ultraviolet lithography machine production line at the Pyeongtaek S5 factory, and also plans to build a new factory in the United States to meet the growing demand for chip foundries from customers.

As early as the end of 2019, there was news in the market that Samsung Electronics planned to invest 116 billion US dollars in the next ten years to develop its chip manufacturing business. In May of this year, it was reported that Samsung Electronics plans to invest 171 trillion won, or about $145.5 billion, in non-memory chip fields by 2030, including chip foundry.

However, when the global chip shortage continued to spread to a larger market, the US government took action against both TSMC and Samsung Electronics. In late September 2021, the US Department of Commerce required major chip companies and automakers to share business information to deal with global In the chip crisis, US President Biden also issued an executive order to ensure and strengthen the supply chain of key US products. Although TSMC and Samsung Electronics have both stated that they will not disclose trade secrets to the US government. However, a few days ago, according to Yonhap News Agency, Samsung Electronics is expected to submit information about its chip business to the US government by November 8.

It is reported that the information that the US government needs from these chip manufacturers includes chip inventory, technology nodes, and sensitive trade secrets such as pricing, customers, and sales records. In addition, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has warned: “If businesses don’t respond to this request, then we have other tools in our ‘toolbox’ asking them to provide us with data.”

In the field of chip manufacturing, Samsung is one of the top companies in the world. Its latest financial report shows that the company’s revenue in the third quarter of 2021 was 73.98 trillion won (about 404.3 billion yuan), a year-on-year increase of 10%; of which, The total revenue of the semiconductor business was 26.41 trillion won (about 144.3 billion yuan), and the operating profit was 10.06 trillion won (about 55 billion yuan).

In addition to TSMC and Samsung, Intel was originally one of the top forces in the chip manufacturing market. In recent years, it was surpassed by TSMC and Samsung Electronics, and Intel was once in a downturn. However, Intel plans to return to the chip foundry market and is full of expectations for the development prospects of this market.

In Intel’s latest third-quarter financial report, as of September 25, Intel’s total revenue in the quarter was $19.192 billion, a year-on-year increase of 5%; net profit was $6.823 billion, a year-on-year increase of 60%. Intel plans to return to the chip foundry market and is full of confidence in the “big cake” of future mobile processors. You know, Intel was once the first company to enter the 14nm era, but there has been no major breakthrough in subsequent technological progress, allowing TSMC and Samsung to seize the opportunity to gain market development opportunities and surpass them in one fell swoop.

After a painful experience, Intel is now beginning to adjust its strategy. Among them, the biggest change is to fully open up its foundry business, and plan to invest in expansion and new factories for this purpose. Intel CEO Henry Kissinger expressed his hope to win back Apple’s computer chip business, as well as many other businesses. In terms of advanced manufacturing processes, Intel announced the development route after the name change: 10nm is followed by Intel 7, followed by Intel 4, Intel 3, Intel 20A, Intel 18A, and at the same time “recklessly” said that it will regain the throne in 2025 and regain the leading Process status.

Samsung Electronics has also previously announced that it will launch a new 3nm GAA process in the first half of 2022, and in 2025, MBCFET (multi-bridge-channel field effect transistor) evolved based on the new GAA nanosheet structure will allow the 2nm process to be mass-produced. TSMC also said that TSMC will launch 2-nanometer chips in 2025, and TSMC believes that new products will maintain a leading edge in the future.

Compared with the chip foundry giants who have stated that they will start mass production of the 2nm process in 2025, but still maintain the most advanced 5nm process technology, the 3nm process is not as fast as imagined. According to the process roadmap announced by TSMC some time ago, TSMC’s 3nm will be mass-produced in 2022, but delivery to customers may arrive in early 2023, 3-4 months later than expected. That is to say, if Apple plans to use the latest 3nm technology on the iPhone 14 next year, it seems impossible.

According to the process of chip technology, after 10nm, it will be 7nm, then 5nm, then 3nm, and then 2nm. When TSMC’s 3nm may be “difficult to produce”, Samsung may be a step ahead in 3nm. Samsung plans to deliver 3nm chips next year. Samsung’s 3nm uses GAAFET transistor technology, while TSMC still uses the old FinFET technology, so Samsung’s advantages may be more obvious. By 2025, will there be a war between Samsung, TSMC and Intel?

Author: Yoyokuo