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Exclusive extracts from this 125-page-long report:
- What is the business?
Semiconductors (also known as chips/chipsets or integrated circuits or silicones) are the backbone of all electronics and electric devices. At the heart of industry lies the production of large wafers containing hundreds of chips, which are then etched out, packaged and shipped.
- What are the main markets?
The industry can be broken down into the following major markets: integrated circuits; optoelectronics; discrete and sensors. Integrated circuits comprise four main sub-groups: memory (the largest segment), logic, microprocessors and analog.
- Who are the key players?
Leading chipmakers are mostly fabless, i.e. they outsource the manufacture of silicon wafers, and a growing number of them are seeking to externalise other low added-value activities of the production process such as testing and packaging. Market leaders are therefore overall becoming leaner and asset-lighter, focusing on higher value-added operations such as R&D, supply-chain management and sales.
- How intense is competition?
Vertically integrated players such as Intel and Samsung continue to invest in new process technologies to maintain their manufacturing leadership, focusing on increasingly smaller nodes. Other large players, including the second biggest foundry, Global Foundry, have thrown in the towel when it comes to next-generation process node development due to the high costs involved.