Fab equipment spending to grow 17% in 2013

Published: 11-Sep-2012

Led by semiconductor manufacturing foundries

Total investment on equipment to expand fabs, upgrade technology nodes, and expand or change wafer size could increase by 16.7% in 2013 to reach a new record high of US$42.7bn, reports global industry association SEMI.

The estimate includes new, used, or in-house equipment but excludes test assembly and packaging equipment, according to the latest edition of the SEMI World Fab Forecast.

The report lists more than 1,150 facilities (including 300 Opto/LED facilities), with 76 facilities starting production this year and in the near future. Since the previous fab database publication in May, SEMI analysts have made over 296 updates to more than 230 facilities (including 52 Opto/LED fabs) in the database.

Semiconductor manufacturing foundries have been significant drivers of fab equipment spending this year with a combined investment in excess of $10bn. Their dominance is expected to continue with approximately $10bn additional equipment spending in 2013.

In 2012, the Americas had the largest percentage of fab construction. From 2010 to 2012 more than $6bn will be spent in the region on projects led by Intel, Globalfoundries, Samsung, and Micron, with most being completed by the end of this year.

No immediate new fab projects in the Americas are anticipated, resulting in projected investment for 2013 construction to drop below $500m from almost $3bn in 2012.

In 2013, most of the fab construction will take place in Taiwan, China, and Korea. Samsung has begun converting four existing memory lines to System LSI. A transition from flash to System LSI will mean a drop in memory capacity, but the company is compensating for this by building a new fab for memory in Xian, China with an investment of $7bn. The fab is expected to begin construction in mid-September.

Other fab construction investment will come from SMIC’s new fab in Beijing, and TSMC and UMC fab projects in Taiwan, says the report.

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