Unlike the PV industry that has seen wafer prices decline by as much as 70% in 2011, semiconductor silicon wafer revenue actually increased by 2%, while shipments decreased 3%. Though SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) didn’t say why shipments were lower but revenue higher, consolidation in the market coupled to the continued migration to 300mm wafers at the expense of smaller sized substrates could be the key underlying reason for the trends in 2011.
According to SMG, silicon wafer area shipments in 2011 totalled 9,043 million square inches (MSI), down from the 9,370 million square inches shipped during 2010. Revenues reached US$9.9 billion up from US$9.7 billion posted in 2010.
"While the recovery from the 2009 downturn continued into early 2011,” said Kazuyo Heinink, chairwoman of SEMI SMG and vice president, MEMC. ”Silicon shipments lost momentum as global economic uncertainty increased during the second half of the year.”