Taiwan is expected to be the world’s largest semiconductor fab equipment spender next year at US$23 billion, due to heavy spending by local foundry companies led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), international trade group SEMI said yesterday.
Taiwanese chipmakers would spend 4 percent more next year on fab equipment than this year, SEMI said.
Ranking second, South Korea would increase its fab equipment spending by 41 percent to US$22 billion next year to reflect a recovery in demand for memory chips, while spending in China would slide to US$20 billion due to US export controls, SEMI said.
“Despite the constraints, Chinese foundry suppliers and IDMs [integrated device manufacturers] are expected to continue investments in mature process nodes,” it said.
Washington imposed bans on the supply of 14-nanometer and 7-nanometer chipmaking equipment to China last year, aiming to slow China’s advances in technology.
The US is expected to hold steady at fourth spot, with spending jumping 23 percent to a record US$14 billion next year, while Europe and the Middle East would also post record investments, with spending soaring 41.5 percent to US$8 billion next year, SEMI said.
Fab equipment spending in Japan and Southeast Asia would likely increase to US$7 billion and US$3 billion respectively next year, it said.
Global chipmakers would see fab equipment spending rebound by 15 percent next year to US$97 billion to cope with recovering demand for chips used in high-performance computing devices and memory chips following inventory adjustments, it said.
In March, SEMI estimated that fab equipment spending would rise to US$92 billion next year.
By segment, foundry companies would lead semiconductor expansion this year with total investments of US$49 billion, up 1 percent from last year, it said.
Next year, their spending would increase 5 percent to US$51.5 billion, as chipmakers expand capacity in leading-edge and mature process nodes, SEMI said.
Memorychip makers led by Samsung Electronics Co would spend US$27 billion on equipment next year, a 65 percent increase, thanks to a 40 percent raise in spending by DRAM makers and a 113 percent jump in spending by NAND producers, it said.
SEMI president and CEO Ajit Manocha said the decline in equipment investment this year is less serious than expected, while the recovery next year would be better than forecast earlier.
“The trend suggests the semiconductor industry is turning the corner on the downturn and [is] on a path back to robust growth fueled by healthy chip demand,” Manocha said in a statement.
Last year, inventory corrections took a toll on equipment spending with global spending sinking 15 percent annually to US$84 billion, SEMI said.
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