LONDON – Total fab spending is set to expand by 16.7 percent in 2013 to reach a record high of $42.7 billion, according to industry trade group SEMI. Fab spending is also set to head east as a cycle of building wafer fabs in the United States comes to an end and projects in Korea, China and Taiwan start to drive spending.
SEMI, the body that looks after the interests of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and materials suppliers, reckons there are over 1,150 chip making facilities around the world, including more than 300 dedicated to making optoelectronics and LEDs. SEMI expects 76 facilities to start production in 2012.
The estimate includes spending on new equipment, used equipment, or refurbished in-house equipment but excludes test assembly and packaging equipment. The spending will be used to ramp wafer fabs, upgrade technology nodes, and expand or change wafer sizes.
SEMI said that foundries are likely to be responsible for about $10 billion of investment in 2012 and it will continue with approximately $10 billion additional equipment spending in 2013.
The Americas region is set to have the largest share of fab construction in 2012. From 2010 to 2012, over $6 billion will be spent in the Americas on fab construction projects led by Intel, Globalfoundries, Samsung, and Micron. However, most of these construction projects will be completed by the end of 2012 and no further major fab projects in the Americas are anticipated. As a result fab spending is set to decline below $500 million from almost $3 billion in 2012.
In 2013, most of the fab construction in will occur in Taiwan, China, and Korea.
Samsung is planning the conversion of up to four existing memory lines to logic production. Meanwhile Samsung has flagged to the intention to build a NAND flash memory fab in Xian, China with an investment of $7 billion. The fab is expected to begin construction mid-September 2012. Other increases in fab construction investment will come from a new fab for SMIC in Beijing, and and TSMC and UMC fab projects in Taiwan.
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