SAN FRANCISCO — China's installed semiconductor wafer production capacity grew faster than any other region of the world in 2018 as the nation continued to ramp into high gear its ambitious plan to bolster its domestic semiconductor industry, according to market research firm IC Insights.

At the end of 2018, China accounted for 12.5% of the world's global fab capacity, up from 10.8% in 2017, IC Insights said. The 12.5% share put China nearly in a dead heat with North America, the firm said.

China's 2018 fab capacity increase was created by a combination of new Chinese startups ramping up fabs and established multinational chip firms increasing production their. China, which is currently locked in a trade war with the U.S., has stated that it would pump more than $161 billion into its domestic semiconductor industry over 10 years to help meet more of its massive internal market for chips.

Last week, IC Insights projected that the value of China's IC production would nearly double between 2018 and 2023, increasing from $23.8 billion to $47 billion.

Taiwan continued to lead all regions of the world in installed fab capacity in 2018, accounting for 21.8% of the global total, up from 21.3% in 2017, IC Insights said. Taiwan has been the leader in fab capacity since 2015.

Fab Capacity

South Korea finished 2018 a close second in the fab capacity race, accounting for 21.3% of the global total, according to IC Insights.

IC Insights said foundry giant TSMC accounted for 67% of Taiwan's installed capacity last year, while the combination of Samsung and SK Hynix accounted for 94% of South Korea's total.