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U.S., European chip makers driving copper interconnects

Posted by inet - 2005-10-30

LONDON — North American and European semiconductors manufacturers are driving the market for front-end equipment tools for copper processing of IC interconnects, rather than their Asian counterparts, according to market research group The Information Network.
According to Robert Castellano, president of the research company, equipment purchases to U.S. IC companies represented 18 percent of the total worldwide front-end market in 2004, yet copper tools were 26 percent of total copper processing equipment purchases.

“In Europe, 9 percent of total front-end equipment was sold to European IC companies but 17 percent of all copper tools. These purchases contrast to Korea, where its worldwide share of front-end equipment was 13 percent but copper tools represented only 4 percent of worldwide copper processing equipment purchases,” said Castellano.

He stresses that even Taiwanese IC companies, with a 22 percent share of total equipment only purchased 17 percent of total copper tools in 2004. The ‘other Asian’ sector, including China, Malaysia, and Singapore, saw a spike in copper tool purchases in 2004, primarily due to a big push by Chartered Semiconductor to establish itself as a leading copper processing foundry.

In 2004, copper purchases in that region were 19 percent of total worldwide copper sales compared to 10 percent of the total equipment market.

According to Castellano, worldwide, copper tools represented 7 percent of the total front-end equipment revenues in 2004, growing to 8 percent this year and forecast to increase to a 15 percent share by 2008.

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