China’s share of the global fabless IC market fell to 9 percent in 2021, down from 15 percent in 2020, according to figures from IC Insights.

At the same time fabless ICs from US fabless chip companies took 68 percent of the market up from 64 percent just a year earlier, the market researcher indicated. Taiwan also benefitted from China’s collapse by taking 21 percent market share of the fabless IC market in 2021, up from 18 percent in 2020. For the year-ago figures see US holds 11 times China’s share of world IC market.

The most obvious reason for the sudden collapse of China’s fabless market share is the US entity-list sanctioning and the impact this had on Huawei subsidiary Hi-Silicon and few others. No longer being able to access TSMC’s leading-edge manufacturing processes effectively excluded them from large parts of the market and gave it to Taiwanese and US companies such as MediaTek and Qualcomm.

Regional worldwide IC market share 2021 by company headquarters location. Source: IC Insights.

The other major geograhical regions in semiconductors: South Korea, Europe and Japan, stayed more or less where they were; with inconsequential shares of the fabless IC market at about 1 percent each. Indeed, Europe had less than 1 percent share in 2021, according to IC Insights.

“The primary reason for China’s reduction in share was that HiSilicon’s “sales” (over 95 percent of its sales are internal transfers to Huawei) went from $8.3 billion in 2020 to $1.1 billion in 2021, the result of the US sanctions on Huawei,”Bill McClean told eeNews Europe by email. “Chinese fabless company IC sales excluding those of HiSilicon increased 61 percent last year from $9.3 billion in 2020 to $15.0 billion in 2021.”

IDM plus fabless equals total

In integrated device manufacturing (IDM) the US companies – by headquarters location – led the market with 47 percent followed by South Korea on 33 percent, Europe on 9 percent and Japan on 8 percent.

The picture for total IC sales market share is somewhat different. US companies held 54 percent of the total worldwide IC market (the combined total of IDM and fabless IC sales) in 2021 followed by the South Korean companies with a 22 percent share.  Taiwanese companies, on the strength of their fabless company IC sales, held 9 percent of global IC sales as compared to a 6 percent share held by the European and Japanese suppliers.

China held just 4 percent or less than one 13th of the US share. This was down from one 11th of the US share a year before.

While the European companies’ market-share decline has not been as steep as that of the Japanese companies, the European firms also held only a 6 percent share of the global IC market last year, down from 9 percent in 1990.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

US holds 11 times China’s share of world IC market

Qualcomm, Mediatek join fabless winners in 2021 boom time

Nvidia, AMD keep winning in fabless chip market ranking

Europe left behind as chip market takes-off

Fateful Choices For ICs and Taiwan

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