I think five is more likely than one.
Peter Wennink, ASML CEO, made that statement BEFORE
Intel announced their 'IDM 2.0' strategy although I personally doubt the market can support five players. The reason is that only a few large companies (like Apple, Qualcomm, Nvidia and AMD) will be able to afford
1. TSMC - Although they've stated they don't rely on one company, an anchor customer (Apple) leaving for Intel would be disastrous. Unlike Intel or Samsung, they don't have another business to fall back on. They've got to be laser focused on maintain their leadership in yield, power efficiency, performance, cost. Tonight's earnings call will be very interesting in regards to TSMC's view on the current market and their competitors.
2. Samsung - It's reported that their 3nm GAA technology has poor yields and a Chinese customer (maybe?). It will be interesting to see their next 3nm iteration next year. I suspect that Samsung will be facing challenges:
a. (short-term) DRAM/NAND prices are forecast to decline this year due to less demand.
b. Foundry just lost their two biggest customers to TSMC: Qualcomm and Nvidia
c. Micron/SK Hynix providing fierce competition and Samsung's leadership in NAND/DRAM has slipped.
d. (long-term) YMTC is growing fast
e. (long-term) Intel Foundry is entering the market
3. Intel - There's been very positive news regarding the Intel 4 process node lately although a recent report stating that Meteor Lake may be delayed until late 2023 adds a bit of concern. From the outside, Pat seems to have Intel firing at all cylinders and the news that they've hired former TSMC executives (Suk Lee and Michael Chang) adds to that narrative. Other than Qualcomm, it will be fascinating to see who else will line up for Intel's foundry services.
4. SMIC - Given the US government's efforts to block ASML from selling DUV/EUV machines to China in an effort to stem their semi manufacturing abilities, I doubt SMIC will be capable of producing a leading-edge node anytime soon.
5. Europe - TSMC has stated that there aren't enough (TSMC) customers in Europe to justify building a fab although talks are still underway to bring TSMC into Europe. Intel, on the other hand, is building a fab in Germany and opening one in Ireland. Given European efforts to bring both TSMC, Intel and Samsung into their continent...would there be enough money left for a European competitor?!
1. Japan - Japan supposedly has a "bilateral chip technology partnership" with the US that will both countries to manufacture 2nm chips as early as 2025 according to a report from Nikkei. There has been very few details on this partnership.
2. IBM - IBM previously unveiled their 2nm chip technology in 2021. IBM has stated that they will be partnering with Intel in developing the next-generation logic and packaging technologies.