Swings likely in 300mm fab equipment spending, says SEMI

memory
According to SEMI, capital spending for semiconductor manufacturing will recover starting in 2020, driven by demand for products such as memory. (Pixabay)

Capital spending for 300mm fab equipment will look more like alternating sinewaves in the foreseeable future, according to SEMI Industry Research and Statistics group in its first edition of the 300mm Fab Outlook report.

SEMI projects that 300mm fab spending will slowly recover in 2020 after the 2019 downturn and soar in 2021 to $60 billion, only to lag again in 2022 and rebound to an all-time peak in 2023,

According to SEMI, the key drivers in fab equipment investment over the five-year outlook will be memory (primarily NAND), foundry/logic, and power. Korea will be the biggest spender, followed by Taiwan and China. Other regions expected to show healthy spending increases include Europe/Mideast and Southeast Asia, the report said.

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RELATED: SEMI forecasts 18% drop in chip-making equipment sales

The number of semiconductor fabs/lines in operation is expected to jump more than 30%, from 130 in 2019 to 170 in 2023, and climb to nearly 200, when lower probability fabs/lines are included in the count, according to SEMI (see graph)

Fab equipment spending and volume fabs/lines count 2012-2023 and high-probability fab projects.
Fab equipment spending and volume fabs/lines count 2012-2023 and high-probability fab projects.

The longer term forecast comes two months after SEMI projected an 18.4% decline in global sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment in 2019.

Slumping semiconductor sales have been a factor. Last week, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported July semiconductor sales for July fell 15.5% from the year-ago period, from $39.5 billion to $33.4 billion.

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