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China/Hong Kong remains largest buyer of Taiwan's ICs in 2017

(photo courtesy of TSMC)

(photo courtesy of TSMC)

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) China (including Hong Kong) was the biggest buyer of Taiwan's integrated circuits in 2017 with a 55 percent share of the country's IC exports, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) data released Tuesday showed.

China bought US$51.2 billion worth of ICs from Taiwan during the year, the highest amount ever, accounting for 55.5 percent of the US$92.3 billion in ICs Taiwan exported during the year, according to the figures.

The 55.5 percent share was up slightly from 55.1 percent in 2016.

Singapore came in a remote second, accounting for 13.8 percent of Taiwan's total IC exports, followed by South Korea (7.4 percent), Japan (7.4 percent), and Malaysia (5.8 percent), the MOEA said.

Taiwan also accounted for 36.7 percent of China/Hong Kong's total IC imports, to become their largest supplier in 2017, the MOEA said.

Taiwan's overall IC exports of US$92.3 billion were the highest ever, and their 18.1 percent growth in 2017 was the highest since 2010, when IC exports rose 33.9 percent largely because of the low base of comparison set in 2009 during the global financial crisis.

Taiwan's IC exports grew at an average pace of 8.9 percent from 2011 to 2017, and their share of the country's total outbound sales has risen to 29.1 percent during that time, from 18 percent in 2011.

The increase in IC exports from Taiwan largely reflected the country's strong showing in the wafer foundry business, the MOEA said, citing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s performance as the world's largest contract chipmaker.

According to a research report recently released by market information advisory firm IC Insights, TSMC's sales totaled US$32.16 billion in 2017, grasping a 51.6 percent share of the global market.

IC Insights said California-headquartered GlobalFoundries Inc. came a distant second with a 9.7 percent share, ahead of Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp. (7.9 percent), South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. (7.4 percent) and Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (5.0 percent).

Powerchip Technology Corp., another Taiwanese firm, which has shifted its focus to wafer foundry production from DRAM production, came in sixth, with a 2.4 percent share in the global market, IC Insights added.