Chipmakers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), United Microelectronics (UMC) and Micron Technology have been informed by their upstream suppliers that prices for 12-inch blank silicon wafers will rise by up to 20% in the first quarter of 2017, according to industry sources.
Wafer suppliers including Shin-Etsu Chemical, Sumco and Siltronic have all adjusted upward their contract quotes for 12-inch blank wafers to respond to continued tight supply, said the sources.
Siltronic, for example, has already seen its supply of 12-inch blank wafers fall short of demand prompting the company to even move goods from its safety stock, the sources pointed out.
TSMC is often given a substantial discount due to its huge demand for 12-inch wafers. Nevertheless, a lower discount rate will be offered by the foundry's wafer suppliers in the first quarter of 2017 - a measure identified as disguised price increases, the sources indicated.
UMC and Micron have both been informed by their wafer suppliers that prices for 12-inch blank wafers will be raised 10-20% in the first quarter of 2017, the sources said.
Demand for 12-inch blank wafers will continue to boom in the following years, as a result of chipmakers' aggressive capacity expansions at their 12-inch fabs. On the supply side, however, annual growth of the world's silicon wafer production will reach only 2% in the next several years, the sources observed.