1. A vast space for substitution of semiconductor materials in China
According to the process flow of semiconductor manufacturing, semiconductor materials can be divided into two categories: manufacturing materials and packaging materials. Manufacturing materials mainly include silicon wafers, compound semiconductors, etc., which are used for IC manufacturing; packaging materials mainly include packaging substrates, etc., which are used for IC packaging and testing.
1. Semiconductor materials are the underlying foundation of the industry
Semiconductor materials are in the upstream of the semiconductor industry chain and are the underlying foundation of the overall semiconductor industry. The overall semiconductor industry chain can be divided into three segments: upper, middle, and downstream.
The upstream is the supporting industry of semiconductors, consisting of semiconductor materials and semiconductor equipment; the midstream is the semiconductor manufacturing industry chain, and its products mainly include integrated circuits, etc.; The downstream is the specific application field of semiconductors, involving consumer electronics, mobile communications and other fields.
Semiconductor manufacturing enterprises can be divided into two types: IDM (Integrated Device Manufacture) and Foundry according to the operation mode. IDM refers to a vertical integration mode that integrates multiple industrial chain links such as chip design, manufacturing, packaging and testing to sales; Foundry refers to only Foundry model in charge of manufacturing.
2. A vast space for alternatives in China
Chinese manufacturers are accelerating their deployment, and semiconductor materials are expected to usher in a breakthrough in localization. Catering to Chinese growing demand for high-end semiconductor materials, semiconductor material companies in China have accelerated the deployment of product technology research and development and capacity expansion.
Yoke , Shanghai Silicon Industry, Nata Opto-electronic, etc. all raised funds to invest in R&D and manufacturing. (1) Yoke invested 288 million yuan to expand the production capacity of spherical silicon micropowder, a new material for integrated circuits. (2) Shanghai Silicon Industry raised 5 billion yuan for the research and development of 300mm high-end silicon wafers, and accelerated the research and development of high-end semiconductor materials. (3) Nata Opto-electronic developed ArF photoresist products and put them into production by the end of 2021, which can achieve an annual production capacity of 25 tons and ensure the effective supply of integrated circuit manufacturing materials.
3. The prosperity of semiconductor materials continues to rise
The expansion trend of fabs around the world is obvious, and the newly added capacity in mainland China is particularly impressive, driving the demand for semiconductor materials. Data shows that from 2017 to 2020, there are 62 new semiconductor production lines in the world, of which 26 are in mainland China, accounting for more than 40%. In addition, semiconductor manufacturers around the world will begin construction of 19 new high-capacity fabs by the end of 2021, and start construction on 10 more in 2022 to meet accelerating demand for chips.
Among them, China and Taiwan will build 8 each, leading the world in the number of new fabs, followed by the Americas, with a total of 6. In terms of 8-inch wafers, experts predict that the world’s 8-inch wafer fab equipment spending will further expand in 2021, approaching US$4 billion, while mainland China will lead the world with 200mm production capacity and its market share will reach 18. %, followed by Japan and Taiwan with 16% respectively.
2. The volume and price of silicon wafers rose together driven by demand
The silicon wafer is made of polycrystalline silicon as the raw material, and the silicon rod is formed by the preparation method of single crystal silicon, and then it is formed by cutting. On the one hand, silicon materials have excellent properties such as unidirectional electrical conductivity, thermal properties, optoelectronic properties, and doping properties, which meet the needs of downstream semiconductor applications. On the other hand, silicon materials are widely present in minerals in the form of silicon dioxide and silicate, rock, which are the most widely used and most important semiconductor basic materials.
1. Silicon wafers are the cornerstone of semiconductor manufacturing
As the first-generation semiconductor material, silicon occupies most of the current application market share. From the perspective of the output value of semiconductor devices, more than 95% of semiconductor devices and more than 99% of integrated circuits in the world use silicon as the substrate material.
Semiconductor silicon wafers are circular. According to different sizes, it is mainly divided into 300mm (12 inches), 200mm (8 inches), 150mm (6 inches), 125mm (5 inches), 100mm (4 inches) and other specifications. On the one hand, the larger size of the silicon wafer means that more chips can be manufactured, and the corresponding production efficiency is higher. On the other hand, since the silicon wafer is round, it is inevitable to waste the silicon wafer circle when making square chips.
The larger the circle radius, the lower the edge waste. The usable area of a 300mm semiconductor wafer is more than twice that of a 200mm wafer, and the usable rate is about 2.5 times. Since the 50mm size was developed in 1970, the size of semiconductor silicon wafers has advanced one level every five years or so, and has grown to the 300mm level around 2000. At present, due to the huge amount of investment and the unsatisfactory yield rate of 450mm silicon wafers, the current mainstream silicon wafers will remain at the 300mm level.
2. Substitution of monopoly industries in China
The market concentration of the semiconductor wafer industry is relatively high. According to the data, the top five semiconductor wafer manufacturers in the world in 2020 are Japan’s Shinetsu, Japan’s SUMCO, China Taiwan’s GlobalWafers, Germany’s Siltronic AG and South Korea’s SK Siltron. Among them, Japan’s Shinetsu and SUMCO have a combined share of 49.04%, and the top five manufacturers together account for more than 85% of the world’s semiconductor wafer market, but compared with the total market share in 2019.
Chinese silicon wafer companies are catching up quickly, and there is huge room for Chinese alternatives. At present, major semiconductor silicon wafer manufacturers around the world have successively achieved mass production of 8-inch and 12-inch semiconductor silicon wafers, and are actively developing larger-sized silicon wafers over 12 inches. At present, only a few companies in my country have the manufacturing technology of 12-inch semiconductor silicon wafers, the localization rate is less than 1%, and the localization rate of 8-inch silicon wafers is only 10%.
The demand for Chinese replacement of silicon wafers in Chinese fabs is very strong. With the gradual expansion of silicon wafer market demand and continuous breakthroughs in semiconductor wafer production technology, Chinese manufacturers continue to expand production capacity. Shanghai Silicon Industry, Zhonghuan Co., Ltd. and Leon Micro are the leaders in Chinese wafer manufacturing, and production and sales are increasing year by year.
3. Breakthroughs in photoresist technology in China
Photoresist, also known as photoresist, is composed of main chemical components such as film formers, photosensitizers, solvents and additives, and other auxiliaries, and is a key material in semiconductor manufacturing.
1. Photoresist is a key material for semiconductor manufacturing
The lithography process accounts for about 35% of the entire chip manufacturing cost, and the time-consuming process accounts for 40-50% of the entire chip process. It is the most core process in semiconductor manufacturing.
According to different application fields, photoresist can be divided into PCB photoresist, LCD photoresist and semiconductor photoresist. Among them, PCB photoresist has the lowest technical barriers, mainly including dry film photoresist, wet film photoresist and photoimaging solder resist ink, which are used in micro pattern processing. LCD photoresists mainly include color photoresists and black photoresists, touch screen photoresists, and TFT-LCD photoresists, which can be used to prepare color filters, deposit ITO, etc.
The growth rate of the semiconductor photoresist market is higher than the overall, especially the high-end semiconductor photoresist demand is strong, and the Chinese semiconductor photoresist market is growing rapidly.
2. Semiconductor photoresist market size is nearly 2 billion US dollars
The growth rate of the semiconductor photoresist market is higher than the overall, especially the high-end semiconductor photoresist demand is strong, and the Chinese semiconductor photoresist market is growing rapidly. In the past five years, the semiconductor photoresist market has shown a rapid growth trend, and the market size has increased from $1.3 billion in 2015 to about $2.1 billion in 2020 (excluding EUV photoresist), of which negative photoresist and g-line photoresist.
The growth rate of the photoresist market is relatively small, and the market scale of high-end semiconductor photoresists ArF and KrF photoresists has gradually increased, and the total proportion exceeds 75% of the total. The scale of Chinese semiconductor photoresist market has grown rapidly, from about 1 billion yuan in 2015 to about 2.5 billion yuan in 2020, with a compound growth rate of 20%.
3. Changes in supply and demand bring new opportunities
In the past, the semiconductor photoresist industry mainly faced four major barriers of raw materials, equipment, technology and customer certification. Except for imported basic raw materials, most of the photoresist special reagents and formulations cannot be localized at present due to technical limitations.
In terms of high-end lithography equipment, the three major manufacturers of ASMAL in the Netherlands, NIKON and CANON in South Korea have achieved oligopoly, with a combined market size of over 90% and high prices. The price of a single EUV lithography machine can exceed 100 million euros. The engraving machine is facing a severe shortage.
4. The photomask is a photolithography process film
Photomask refers to the pattern transfer tool or master used in the photolithography process in microelectronics manufacturing. According to the different materials of the photomask substrate, photomasks can be divided into quartz substrates and soda substrates, etc.; Photomasks and photomasks for touch control, etc.
1. The mainstream development trend of photomask is high precision
The photomask is mainly composed of a transparent substrate and an opaque light-shielding film. Quartz substrate and chromium are the mainstream choices. Substrate materials include resin substrates and glass substrates. The substrate made of quartz glass has the characteristics of high purity, reflectivity and low thermal expansion rate. Compared with other materials, the environment has lower requirements on the process production environment and longer life, mainly used in integrated circuits and flat panel displays and other fields.
The shading film can be divided into latex shading film and hard shading film (including chrome, silicon, iron oxide), among which chrome has the highest precision and better durability, and is widely used in flat panel display, IC (integrated circuit), printed circuit board and fine Electronic Component.
2. The semiconductor photomask market continues to grow
Taiwan is the largest market for semiconductor photomasks. In 2019, the semiconductor photomask market around the world as a whole showed a growth trend, with a scale of 4.1 billion US dollars, and is expected to reach 4.4 billion US dollars in 2022. From the perspective of regional distribution, the top three semiconductor photomask markets in the world in 2019 are Taiwan, South Korea and North America, accounting for 37.92%, 20.91% and 19.33% respectively. Since 2012, Taiwan has been the largest market for semiconductor photomasks.
3. American and Japanese companies dominate the market around the world
The competition pattern of semiconductor photomask is dominated by leading companies in the United States and Japan, and the industry concentration is relatively high. The top three semiconductor photomask manufacturers in the world are FoxNice, Dainippon Printing and Toppan Printing. Among them, FoxNix has a market share of about 1.3 billion US dollars, accounting for about 35% of the total market size, and CR3 occupies a total of 85% market share.
For photomasks such as HTM, GTM, PSM, etc., almost all rely on imports.In recent years, some Chinese enterprises have been through continuous technological research and development and product upgrades. Qingyi Optoelectronics is one of the earliest and largest photomask manufacturers in China, mainly engaged in photomask business. The company’s main business is divided into quartz masks and soda masks according to different substrates, accounting for 82.13% and 16.98% respectively.
In terms of semiconductor photomasks, the current mass production capacity of masks for semiconductor chips in its Shenzhen factory is at the 0.25um process level, and it is expected that the mass production capacity will increase from 0.25um to 0.13um process in the future.
5. The CMP material market has broad prospects
CMP is chemical mechanical polishing (Chemical Mechanical Polishing, CMP), which is a key process to achieve uniform planarization over the world of the wafer surface through the organic combination of chemical corrosion and mechanical grinding in the semiconductor manufacturing process.
1. CMP is a key process in wafer fabrication
The CMP system is mainly composed of polishing equipment, polishing liquid and polishing pad. The working principle is as follows: the wafer is fixed on the polishing head, and a certain pressure is applied to the polishing head to make it fully contact with the polishing pad; the polishing head and the polishing pad are driven by the motor to rotate at a certain speed and direction, and the polishing liquid is passed.
CMP polishing materials include polishing liquid (polishingslurry), polishing pad (polishing pad) and diamond disc (condition disk), and the consumption increases with wafer throughput and the number of CMP planarization process steps. From the perspective of value ratio, CMP materials are the core consumables for wafer manufacturing, accounting for about 7% of the total wafer manufacturing cost; among CMP materials, polishing liquid and polishing pad are the core materials, accounting for the total value of CMP materials respectively.
The semiconductor manufacturing process is complex, and the requirements for CMP polishing materials are high. Foreign companies have mastered the manufacturing technology of the main raw material abrasives. Most Chinese CMP polishing material manufacturers import raw materials from the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries.
2. The CMP material market has broad prospects
With the advancement of technology, the foundry process node has been continuously reduced. From 10μm in 1971 to today’s 10nm, 7nm, and 5nm, the line width has been continuously reduced. The manufacturing of the logic chip of the 65nm process requires about 12 CMP processes, and the types of polishing solutions used are about 5 or 6, while the CMP processes required for the 7nm process increase to more than 30 processes, and the types of polishing solutions used are close to 30. The types and amounts of polishing liquids have increased significantly.
The technological change of memory chips from 2D NAND to 3D NAND has almost doubled the number of CMP process steps from 8 to 16 steps, and also increased the demand for CMP polishing liquidChina has a huge supply gap for semiconductor materials. In terms of demand, with the gradual transfer of the semiconductor industry to mainland China, the market demand for semiconductor materials in China will continue to grow.
Chinese CMP material manufacturers will usher in more development opportunities; in terms of supply, CMP polishing materials are high-value, high-consumption Materials, the gross profit margin is around 55%. Both supply and demand drive the development of Chinese CMP polishing material market.