LONDON – Five companies will account for 64 percent of the global semiconductor industry's capital expenditure of $61.4 billion in 2012, a total that is 6 percent less than the 2011 chip capex of $65.6 billion, according to IC Insights Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.).
Intel, which recently announced a reduction in its planned capex for 2012 (see Intel revenue hit by weak demand), is second in annual chip capex. Industry leader Samsung is expected to spend $13.1 billion in 2012. IC Insights's pegs Intel's capex for the year at $11.2 billion; TSMC at $8.3 billion; SK Hynix, $3.7 billion and GlobalFoundries at $3.1 billion.
The concentration of manufacturing investment has been escalating since 2005, when the top five companies were responsible for only 40 percent of total semiconductor industry spending. Similarly, the top 10 capital spending leaders are now forecast to account for 77 percent of total industry spending in 2012, a jump of 22 percentage points from 2005 when the top 10 companies represented 55 percent of spending.
Only six of the top 35 chip making companies are planning to increase capital expenditure in 2012, according to IC Insights. The six are Intel (4 percent), Samsung (11 percent), SK Hynix (16 percent), TSMC (13 percent), UMC (26 percent) and Rohm with a 78 percent increase.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.