Global SOI (silicon on insulator) market scale is expected to double by 2024 from 2019 thanks to significant expansion in applications to mobile devices, communication infrastructure, IoT devices and automotive electronics in the 5G era, though SOI is not mainstream semiconductor materials, according to Digitimes Research.
Besides being adopted for RFFRM (radio frequency front end modules), special SOI solutions have also been applied to smartphone imaging chips and optical communication devices at datacenters. FD-SOI (fully depleted SOI), in particular, will also be massively applied to 5G base stations and datacenters as well as IoT and wearable devices thanks to its trait of low-voltage operation and low power consumption.
In light of the prospective market growth, the world's major SOI wafer suppliers such as France-based Soitec are planning to enforce capacity expansion plans in 2020. Soitec will move to expand capacities at its plants in France and Singapore and strategically cooperate with Shanghai Simgui Technology to double the latter's existing production capacity. Finland-based Okmetic has also announced plans to double its SOI wafer capacity in 2020.
Meanwhile, Soitec will also beef up its development of new products in 2020, including Micro LED, MEMS, and third-generation semiconductor materials such as GaN and SiC for diverse applications.