Global fab equipment spending at front-end facilities is expected to grow at an annual pace of 10 percent this year to a record of more than US$98 billion, with South Korea taking the lead, followed by Taiwan, SEMI said in a quarterly report yesterday.
That means that world fab equipment spending is to grow for a third straight year, following a 39 percent jump last year and 17 percent growth in 2020, the global semiconductor trade association said in a statement.
The industry previously had three consecutive years of growth from 2016 to 2018, more than 20 years after logging a three-year run in the mid-1990s, SEMI said.
Photo: I-hwa Cheng, Bloomberg
“The semiconductor equipment industry has enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth with increased spending in six of the past seven years as chipmakers expand capacity to meet secular demand for a wide range of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, autonomous machines and quantum computing,” SEMI president and chief executive officer Ajit Manocha said in the statement.
“The capacity buildout extends beyond the robust demand during the [COVID-19] pandemic for electronics vital for remote work and learning, telehealth and other applications,” Manocha said.
A bulk of the fab equipment spending is expected to be from the foundry sector, accounting for 46 percent of total spending this year, SEMI said.
The sector is to invest 13 percent more on fab equipment this year than last year, the report said.
The memory sector was next with a 37 percent share, but investment is expected to shrink slightly this year, mostly from DRAM chipmakers, it said.
With Samsung Electronics Co and HK Hynix Inc, South Korea is to be the top spender this year, with fab equipment investment rising 14 percent year-on-year, it said.
Taiwan, which is home to the world’s largest foundry company, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), ranked No. 2, with fab equipment spending to rise 14 percent annually, SEMI said.
TSMC is expected to unveil another record in capital expenditure for this year today, amounting to US$38 billion, as it has multiple capacity expansion projects under way in Taiwan, China, Japan and the US, Goldman Sachs said last week.
That would be an increase of 26 percent from TSMC’s capital spending budget of US$30 billion last year.
Shares of TSMC’s equipment suppliers Scientech Corp (辛耘), Marketech International Corp (帆宣) and Trusval Technology Co (信紘科技) yesterday rallied 9.71 percent, 2.59 percent and 9.97 percent to NT$113, NT$178.5 and NT$87.1 respectively.
China’s ranking dropped one notch to third this year, with fab equipment spending to contract 20 percent this year from last year, SEMI said.
Europe and the Middle East are projected to grow 145 percent this year from last year, while Japan is expected to grow 29 percent.
SEMI listed 27 fabs and lines that began procuring equipment last year, most of them in China and Japan.
Twenty-five are expected to begin procuring this year, with Taiwan, South Korea and China accounting for most of the activity, it said.
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