According to a recent market research report on semiconductor fabrication materials, Japan represents the largest regional market worldwide, while Taiwan ranks as the fastest-growing market with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1% over the analysis period from 2006-2012. A strong semiconductor foundry base is helping drive growth in the country. Silicon wafers represent the largest segment, accounting for a major share in global revenues, while chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP) materials rank as the fastest-growing product market.
Semiconductors are an indispensable part of modern electronics. The growing ubiquity of semiconductors that drive high-tech electronics is mirrored in their extensive use in applications ranging from traditional computers and televisions to advanced smartphones and video game consoles. Growth in the semiconductor fabrication materials market is reliant on the health of the semiconductor industry. Demand for semiconductors is dictated by consumer and industrial demand for electronics. Demand patterns in major downstream markets such as computers, communications equipment, digital home appliances, automotive and industrial electronics tend to influence wafer fabrication activity. Future growth will be dictated by emerging new opportunities in automotive electronics, medical device electronics, and defense and aerospace electronics, including state-of-the-art weaponry.
The continually rising performance standards for electronic devices require smaller and more robust semiconductor devices. The miniaturization trend has therefore become deeply embedded into modern society, creating a paradigm shift in advanced electronics manufacturing. Microfabrication is driving demand for newer fabrication materials. Integration of advanced integrated circuits (ICs) and transition toward digital ICs in mobile devices, particularly smartphones, are key trends fuelling demand for advanced semiconductor fabrication materials. Demand is expected to grow strongly for photoresists, specialty gases, wet chemicals, CMP slurries, and thin-film metals. The shift toward digital integrated circuits is creating robust demand for ultra-pure semiconductor materials. Especially poised to benefit are materials that are easy to process and that enable high-volume fabrication throughput.