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A Bright Future for Foundry: How Samsung Foundry is Steering Semiconductor Partners through a New Era of Growth

This article is part of an in-depth series based on keynotes from Samsung Foundry Forum 2022 diving into the latest in foundry solutions and technology.

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When COVID struck, foundry market watchers feared the worst. Experts assumed the pandemic would drag down the world economy, taking the global foundry market with it. What they saw instead was a digital transformation that meant major wins for the foundry industry, as data traffic spiked, and consumers grabbed up gadgets to enable their new work-from-everywhere lifestyles. Today, long-term growth for the foundry industry is set to continue – with powerful innovations in data, smart vehicles, and deeper mobile connectivity leading the change. In response, Samsung Foundry is building up its global business to meet the rising demand for foundry services and new process solutions. And with the foundry industry at large set to grow, Samsung is making sure its customers get every opportunity to grow with it.
Opportunity Knocks 3X for Foundry Rising data traffic, a blossoming automotive sector, and new mobile tools have made foundry the fastest growing sector in the semiconductor industry – taking up to 20% of the semiconductor market by 2027. Let’s look at how each of these three sectors is changing, and how Samsung Foundry is helping its customers stay ahead. Mobile From 2010 to 2020, the mobile market led foundry industry growth, pushing the foundry and semiconductor industries up at CAGRs of 9% and 4%. The mobile foundry business will continue to make up a strong portion of the foundry market’s, and a key area of innovation – rising at a CAGR of 11% through 2027. Part of that growth is owed to recent 5G penetration, which will demand new upgrades for smartphones to keep up with improved connectivity. And with a rise in new functions like smarter cameras and AI functions that use more IC area, Samsung Foundry will focus on supporting its customers as they create newer and better chip solutions for the next generation of mobile. HPC New technologies in metaverse, VR, and 6G are driving developments in HPC, while the world’s growing appetite for content streaming has contributed to an explosion of data traffic. At the same time, OEMs and Cloud Service Providers are turning foundries to develop the chips that will power a new wave of HPC devices. Meeting that growing demand for faster, more power efficient HPC and the chips that power it will be a core part of the foundry business’s work going forward. Samsung Foundry’s focus will be on helping customers keep up with increases in speed and performance, so they can remain at the forefront of innovation in every field. Smarter Cars The automotive market is racing towards a more intelligent, autonomous future. Driving that shift is technology changes in four major categories: autonomous systems, smart cars, electrification, and E/E architecture. Perhaps the greatest shift for the foundry business will be from the autonomous systems sector, requiring new advanced nodes for its HPC powered solutions. Smart cars will also lift the growth of foundry services, as they integrate infotainment systems, smarter cockpit control, and more into smarter, easy-to-use systems. At the same time, electrification in general will lead to higher overall semiconductor demand, as more systems become automated, and cars get more intelligent from bumper to bumper. And the rising demand for MCUs that can support new E/E opportunities will continue to fuel innovation in the foundry market. Steering the Industry with Trust Matching today’s robust market growth will call for innovative and trusted foundry partners who can adapt to changing demands, while providing the innovations that drive tomorrow. Samsung Foundry can tap into a broad library of advanced and mature nodes ranging from 14nm to 3nm processes – nodes that provide optimal solutions to meet the most advanced needs of today’s products. On top of that, it’s developing new solutions that cater to those existing processes the changing demands of today’s customers. 3D and 2.5D advanced packages and integration of chiplets will be just a few of the solutions that give a competitive edge to Samsung’s customers, along with other tried-and-tested processes. In the field of HPC, Samsung Foundry is responding to growing demand for CPUs, GPUs and AI accelerators with advanced process technologies, many of which are already in wide use by industry leading HPC customers. Going forward, it will utilize its experience with tools like high-performance IPs and a big die design methodology to strengthen its ecosystem and infrastructure in HPC and other areas. In the automotive industry, Samsung’s strong track record will allow it to drive the industry forward with new innovations. Samsung’s record of zero field failures over the last 4 years in the 14nm automotive process is a clear demonstration of our capability. Samsung Foundry mass produced its first solutions for automotive back in 2018, and is now using its expertise in mobile application processors (AP) to extend infrastructure from IVI to ADAS. Growth in this sector is focused on SoC, ADAS, MCU, Infotainment, and xEV. In line with that growth, Samsung has secured processes, FAB and design infrastructure for key auto grades.
Expanding Our Infrastructure, Growing Our Customers Expanding markets require foundry partners with the infrastructure to deliver solutions on a global scale. That’s why Samsung Foundry is expanding its already global infrastructure, making sure its customers' demands are met so they can grow with the market. That includes constructing new FABs in both Korea and the U.S. to build up capacity and meet customers growing demands at the pace they need. Samsung’s list of global customers has also grown – more than doubling in size since 2019. And it’s expected to reach more than 5 times that number by 2027. Recently, Samsung Foundry secured first-tier customers in the HPC, network and automotive sectors, making it the market leader in several areas of 5G and automotive innovation. It has the top market share in the global 5G-RF sector and is a strong second in 5G ModAP. And by doubling down on partnerships, Samsung is creating new opportunities for growth. For example, Samsung is now competing for the biggest market share in the ADAS sector by cooperating with top automotive companies. At the end of the day, success in the semiconductor industry depends on working with the right partners. Samsung Foundry has a history of using synergy with its customers to create new momentum for growth. Today it offers various solutions for chip design, IP, packaging, and testing (EDS), and is working with forward thinking companies to perform incredible feats, like grafting memory onto 3D IC technology to deliver the higher bandwidth and lower latency that customers demand. As the foundry market grows, Samsung will continue providing the innovation, reliability, and partnership to keep up with that growth, while ensuring its customers have what they need to reap the rewards.