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Chipmakers increase spending for fab equipment
Semiconductor suppliers will spend $39.5 billion on fab equipment in 2012
Fab equipment spending by semiconductor suppliers will rise 2 percent to $39.5 billion in 2012 and another 17 percent to $46.3 billion in 2013, according to trade association SEMI.
Increases in fab equipment spending mean suppliers are increasing capacity, upgrading equipment in existing fabs, or purchasing equipment for new ones.
Fab construction spending has an improved outlook when compared to just a few months ago, with major announcements from Intel, Samsung, SMIC, TSMC, UMC and others. SEMI noted that there are 45 planned projects (including new and on-going) in 2012 and 24 planned in 2013. However, fab construction spending will still drop 6 percent in 2012 to $6.2 billion and 1 percent in 2013. Fab construction spending had earlier been forecast to decline at much higher rates.
In 2012, 11 new fabs will begin construction. In 2013, however, only seven new fabs will begin construction, though this could change, according to the trade association.
The combined planned capacity of all new fabs beginning construction in 2012 will be 900,000 wafers per month (in 200 mm equivalents). Memory ICs will account for 60 percent of this capacity; foundries, 20 percent; and System LSI another 20 percent. The new fabs beginning construction in 2013 have a planned capacity for 550,000 wafers per month.
Regions planning to spend the most on fab equipment in 2012 included Korea ($11 billion), Taiwan ($8.5 billion), and the Americas ($8.3 billion), SEMI reported.
Memory IC manufacturers will spend the most on equipment, followed by foundry suppliers.