Asmag Netherlands VS US Applied Materials, who is the brother of the global semiconductor equipment supplier?
Recently, Robert Castellano, president of the TIN research company, predicted that global semiconductor equipment leading applied materials company may lose its leading position for many years in 2019, giving way to the lithography machine manufacturer ASML . Applied Materials has been occupying this position since it surpassed Japan's Toden Electronics in 1992 as the world's largest semiconductor equipment manufacturer. Because of the success of developing extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), ASML has become an indispensable device in the semiconductor manufacturing process of 7nm and below, and is sought after by the market. Are the two major equipment manufacturers weak or weak? ASML can really surpass Applied Materials to top the semiconductor equipment market as Robert Castrano predicted?
Which of applied materials and ASML comes first?
Robert Castellano said that in the past three years, ASML has been in the limelight, and EUV lithography machines have been scrambled by several major chip manufacturing giants. According to its statistics, ASML's global semiconductor equipment market share was 18% in 2018 and rose to 21.6% in 2019. The semiconductor equipment traditional hegemony applied material has a market share of 19.2% in 2018, and this year it has slightly increased to 19.4%. Therefore, if this prediction and statistics come true, ASML will surpass applied materials and become the first place in the global semiconductor equipment supplier. Robert Castellano also predicts the market in 2020. Based on the capital expenditures planned by semiconductor manufacturers in 2020, the ASML market share will increase to 22.8%, and applied materials will maintain a 19.3% share. This means that ASML will continue to be the leader until next year.
Based on this prediction, semiconductor expert Mo Dakang believes that Applied Materials is the semiconductor product supplier with the most complete product line. Applied Materials is good at mergers and acquisitions and strengthens its own strength through a series of mergers and acquisitions. This also makes its product line very wide, covering dozens of types of equipment for semiconductor manufacturing, including physical vapor deposition equipment (PVD), chemical vapor deposition equipment (CVD), planarization equipment (CMP), atomic layer deposition equipment (ALD) ), Ion implanters, etching machines, rapid thermal processing equipment (RTP), and wafer inspection equipment. In addition to PVD and CMP occupying the world's largest market share, other equipment is not the strongest, but also possesses not weak strength. With a relatively comprehensive product line, Applied Materials has been steadily sitting in the position of the first supplier of semiconductor equipment for a long time. However, semiconductors tend to decline in 2019, which also makes the performance of applied materials not satisfactory. In fiscal 2019, Applied Materials achieved revenue of $ 14.610 billion and a net profit of $ 2.7 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 11%.
In contrast, ASML has been focusing on the development of lithography machines. According to Gartner statistics, in 2018, the company's share in the global lithography machine market reached 76%. In particular, ASML is the only equipment manufacturer capable of providing EUV lithography machines, and 7nm and more advanced process technologies rely heavily on this type of equipment. Intel, TSMC and Samsung all need to purchase ASML EUV equipment. In the future, the use of EUV will gradually expand from advanced logic technology to memory. In this way, its usage will also increase significantly.
Therefore, Mo Dakang believes that with this development trend, it is very likely that ASML will surpass applied materials and become the first semiconductor device manufacturer in 2020. However, it is considered that ASML is stronger than applied materials and is inaccurate. "Applied materials and ASML are a comprehensive balance and a focused advantage. At the current time node, it seems to be beneficial for the advantages of ASML. However, applied materials also have their advantages." Mo Dakang said.
Generation of equipment, generation of technology, how does China become stronger?
Regardless of whether the equipment leader throne will change this year, it can be seen that equipment manufacturers and semiconductors have become more and more closely interacting with each other and their role has become increasingly prominent. Just as Zhao Ganming, chief technology officer of Applied Materials China, pointed out in an interview with reporters earlier, with the slowdown of Moore's Law, the semiconductor industry is facing brand-new technological changes and needs the development of the lowest-level materials engineering technology to provide strong support.
The semiconductor industry is known for one generation of equipment, one generation of processes, and one generation of devices. Since the end of the 1980s, semiconductor equipment companies have been committed to process development, integrating process capabilities into equipment, that is, equipment factories are doing the work of manufacturing plants, and allowing manufacturers to buy equipment can guarantee the use and achieve Process requirements. In this sense, it is not an exaggeration to say that the development of equipment determines the progress of devices and processes. But because of this situation, higher requirements have been put forward for the development of Chinese semiconductor equipment companies.
In this regard, Mo Dakang pointed out that starting from research and development and prototype, a device must pass a large number of silicon wafers and other process tests to find problems and modify them. This process has to be repeated many times and modified many times before the final finalization. And before leaving the factory, we must go through a marathon test to calculate the mean time between failures. This will be a huge challenge for domestic equipment manufacturers that are still weak.
In recent years, in order to support the development of the equipment industry, the state has issued policies to support it. Although the market demand for semiconductor equipment in China is very large, the development of the domestic equipment industry is still a short board. SEMI statistics show that global semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales totaled $ 64.5 billion in 2018. For the first time, the semiconductor equipment market in mainland China surpassed Taiwan, China, at US $ 131.1, ranking second in the world, but the global revenue of semiconductor equipment manufacturers is still in the single digit level.
Sheng Hui Semiconductor Chairman and CEO Wang Hui pointed out that semiconductor equipment manufacturing is an industry with a high threshold. Not only is the technology intensive, manufacturers need to master strict IP, but also a lot of follow-up services need to be done after the products are sold. If the selling price is too low, it will inevitably greatly reduce the profit margin of equipment companies. Although the user company may make a profit in the short term, it will inevitably affect the subsequent service. In addition, the equipment industry is highly competitive. Enterprises must ensure continuous follow-up of each generation of technology and maintain technological leadership. This requires continuous investment, and excessively low profits will result in the inability of enterprises to follow up on technological progress.
Wang Hui believes that for domestic equipment manufacturers, the best solution is to develop differentiated technology for products, rather than just to win orders for low prices. "Facing the same application and the same technical challenge, you have to do better than a large company, and you must seek a differentiated solution, otherwise it will be difficult to surpass the large company." From the perspective of Wang Hui, from the perspective of technological innovation Small companies may not lose to large companies, but because of their flexibility and high efficiency, it is easier to make breakthrough technologies. Taking the dots and noodles and making breakthroughs from the dots is the long-term sustainable growth of domestic equipment companies.
Mo Dakang pointed out that the equipment factory must have a global vision, and it is impossible to focus only on the Chinese market. If globalization is to be achieved, the performance indicators of products and equipment must be oriented towards the international first-class standards. The reason why China Micro's equipment can enter the TSMC production line is precisely because of its international vision and market-oriented means.