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Since the start of the pandemic, chip shortages have majorly impacted the automotive, information technology and consumer electronics sectors, partly due to disruptions in production processes and supply chains amid increased demand. The ongoing war in Ukraine and global inflation are also contributing to comparatively weak quarterly results from chip producers such as AMD, Qualcomm and Intel. The latter set a new negative record: With a net loss of $454 million, Intel slid into the red in the second quarter of 2022 for the first time since the end of 2017.
This development was the result of the “sudden and rapid drop in economic activity,” according to an official statement from CEO Pat Gelsinger, but also reflected Intel’s own “execution issues.” This could also include producing most of its circuits in-house and not completely outsourcing manufacturing to specialized foundries, as many competitors do. The term refers to manufacturing companies that mainly produce semiconductors and chips for so-called “fabless companies” like Apple, NVIDIA or the already mentioned Qualcomm and AMD. As our chart shows, companies such as TSMC, Samsung Electronics or UMC benefited from the increased demand and the simultaneous supply shortage in the two pandemic years and were able to increase their sales through favorable price development and high capacity utilization, among other factors.
According to analysts at TrendForce, Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC, which is known for producing chips for iPhones but also makes semiconductors for Intel, remained the market leader in semiconductor foundries. Apple was responsible for about 25 percent of TSMC’s total revenue of about $57 billion in 2021. Overall, the five foundries with the highest sales have a market share of about 90 percent.
Globalfoundries from the USA is the only manufacturer not based in the East Asian region in the top eight; in the first quarter of 2022, its market share was around six percent. To expand the market position of U.S. chip manufacturers, Congress passed the CHIPS for America Act in July, which is intended to provide the industry with additional financial resources for production and research.
This chart shows the annual revenue of the leading semiconductor foundries.
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