While U.S. and Chinese presidents continue to discuss tariffs on Chinese imports, the Chinese power semiconductor market grew 12.76% to 259.1 billion RMB in 2018. That’s just over $38.5 billion U.S. The discrete component market grew 14.7% over 2017 and the power management IC (PMIC) market grew 8%.
The demand-driven power semiconductor market is, to some extent, insulated from political maneuvering precisely because it is demand-driven. TrendForce predicts that market will continue double-digit growth (12.17%) in 2019 to reach 290.7 billion RMB or $43.2 billion. One Chinese power semiconductor supplier, BYD Microelectronics, now has more than a 20% market share of China’s automotive IGBT market due to China’s policy of replacing foreign products with domestic. MOSFET suppliers Sino-Microelectronics and Yangjie Technology saw big revenue upticks as they entered the IGBT market.
Silan Microelectronics and China Resources Microelectronics are both building12-inch unique IGBT production lines, while GTA Semiconductor is also working on its automotive-grade IGBT production line. SiC production lines are also being development, and BYD Microelectronics will replace its silicon-based IGBT with SiC MOSFETs by 2023.
The demand for power semiconductors is increasing due to by driver-assistance systems, equipment needed to establish 5G connections, cloud computing, and rapid development of IoT. TrendForce sees demand continuing to outpace supply and rising prices for the first three quarters of 2019. While SiC Mosfets may continue to replace silicon-based IGBT in the automotive sectors, silicon-based IGBT may be used more often in lower power, higher efficiency applications.
While the total Chinese semiconductor equipment spend was $8 billion by the beginning of 2018, with a sizeable chunk supplied by American manufacturers, Chinese manufacturers are taking full advantage of government subsidies that encourage them to invest in emerging technologies.