Global semicon photomask market forecast to reach US$3.4b in 2016, says SEMI

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 14): The global semiconductor photomask market is forecast to reach US$3.4 billion in 2016 after reaching US$3.2 billion last year, according to the US-based Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI).

The photomask is an essential device to be used in the manufacturing process of integrated circuits such as large scale integraters.

In a statement on its website yesterday, SEMI said that after increasing 1% in 2013, the photomask market increased 3% in 2014.

It said the mask market was expected to grow 4% and 3% in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

SEMI said the key drivers in this market continue to be advanced technology feature sizes (less than 45 nm) and increased manufacturing in Asia-Pacific.

“Taiwan remains the largest photomask regional market for the fifth year in a row and is expected to be the largest market for the duration of the forecast,” it said.

SEMI said revenues of US$3.2 billion placed photomasks at 13% of the total wafer fabrication materials market, behind silicon and semiconductor gases.

“By comparison, photomasks represented 18% of the total wafer fabrication materials market in 2003,” it said.  

Another trend highlighted in the report was the increasing importance of captive mask shops.

SEMI said captive mask shops, aided by intense capital expenditures in 2011 and 2012 and a weakening Yen in 2013 and 2014, gained market share at merchant suppliers’ expense, with captive mask suppliers accounting for 53% of the total photomask market last year, up from 49% in 2013.

It said captive mask shops represented 31% of the photomask market in 2003.