The percentage increase was low, coming after three years of double-digit percentage growth, but still was greater than the overall chip market which contracted by 2.3 percent in 2015, according to Gartner (see Chip market fell 2.3% in 2015, says Gartner ).
TSMC was market leader and is it has been for many years, and grew by 5.5 percent in 2015 driven by the success of its 20nm planar CMOS and 16nm FinFET manufacturing processes serving the needs of application processors and baseband modem chips.
Globalfoundries was able to outgrow UMC and swapped places with the Taiwanese foundry in second position, mainly due to the contribution of its IBM acqusitions. Samsung and SMIC grew faster than both of these companies but were unable to improve their rankings.
Tower Semiconductor Ltd., which trades as TowerJazz, grew strongly in 2015 but remained in 7th spot. Fujitsu which was 10th in 2014 climbed to position 8 in 2015 while Vanguard and Hua Semiconductor both dropped a single ranking position.
Price competition in advanced process technologies in 2015 was exceptionally strong, not only on the 28 nm node, as more foundry suppliers have started the production volume of 28 nm polySiON technology, but also on 65 nm and 40 nm. In contrast to the highly utilized 200 mm fabs from fingerprint ID chips and power management ICs, the low 300 mm fab utilization rates at some large foundries have triggered their willingness to run more 0.18-micron wafers in the 300 mm fabs.
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