Thursday, March 15, 2018

Samsung CIS Production Capacity to Beat Sony

ETNews reports that Samsung is to convert its 300mm DRAM 13 line in Hwasung to CMOS sensors production. Since last year, the company also working to convert its DRAM 11 line in Hwasung into an image sensor production (named as S4 line). Conversion of S4 line will be done by end of this year. Right after that, Samsung is going to convert its 300mm 13 line. The 13 line can produce about 100,000 DRAM wafers per month. Because image sensor has more manufacturing steps than DRAM, the production capacity is said to be reduced by about 50% after conversion.

At the end of last year, production capacity of image sensor from 300mm plant based on wafer input was about 45,000 units.” said ETNews source. “Because production capacities of image sensor that will be added from 11 line and 13 line will exceed 70,000 units per month, Samsung Electronics will have production capacity of 120,000 units of image sensor after these conversion processes are over.

Sony CIS capacity is about 100,000 wafers per month. Even with Sony capacity extension plans are accounted, Samsung should be able to match or exceed Sony production capacity.

While increasing production capacity of 300mm CIS lines for 13MP and larger sensors, Samsung is planning to slowly decrease output of 200mm line located in Giheung.

Samsung capacity expansion demonstrates its market confidence. Samsung believes that its image sensor capabilities approach that of Sony. The number of the company's outside CIS customers is over 10.


  1. But, Sony's CIS market share is more than twice of Samsung's according to some market reports, at least in 2016. So where do Samsung's image sensors go to?

  2. Rear facing cameras are going to two sensors, so the total number of CIS in a phone is going from 2-3. Even if market share stays the same, this means everyone has to increase their capacity to stay in the game. So while the smart phone market effectively now only grows 3% a year, that growth on 1.5B units assuming 2.2 average sensors per phone and going up, means WW CIS capacity has to grow at 85 million+ units a year just to stay even.


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