Fab equipment spending: Look for upward swing into 2016

Worldwide semiconductor fab equipment capital expenditure growth (new and used) for 2015 is expected to be 0.5 percent (total capex of US$35.8 billion), increasing another 2.6 percent (to a total of $36.7 billion) in 2016, according to the latest update of the quarterly SEMI World Fab Forecast report.

SEMI reports that in 2015, Korea outspent all other countries ($9.0 billion) on front-end semiconductor fab equipment, and is expected to drop to second place in 2016 as Taiwan takes over with the largest capex spending at $8.3 billion. In 2015, Americas ranked third in overall regional capex spending with about $5.6 billion and is forecast to increase only slightly to (5.1 percent) in 2016.

fab equipment spending 2016

In 2015, 80 to 90 percent of fab equipment spending went to 300mm fabs, while only 10 percent was for 200mm or smaller.  SEMI’’s recently published “Global 200mm Fab Outlook” provides more detail about past and future 200mm activities.

Examining fab equipment spending by product type, Memory accounts for the largest share in 2015 and 2016.  While 2015’s spending was dominated by DRAM, the SEMI World Fab Forecast reports that 2016 will be dominated by Flash, mainly 3D-related architectures.  Capacity for 3D-NAND will continue to surge. SEMI’’s report tracks 10 major 3D producing facilities, with a capacity expansion of 47 percent in 2015 and 86 percent in 2016.

The Foundry segment is next in terms of the largest share of fab equipment spending in 2015 and 2016.  In general, the foundry segment shows steadier, more predictable spending patterns than other device product segments. Coming in third place in fab equipment spending, MPU had lower spending in 2015.  Logic spending was very strong in 2015, with 90 percent growth, driven by SONY’s CMOS image sensors.

Throughout 2015, SEMI anticipates that there will be 1,167 facilities worldwide investing in semiconductor equipment in 2016, including 56 future facilities across industry segments from Analog, Power, Logic, MPU, Memory, and Foundry to MEMS and LEDs facilities. For further details, please reference to the latest edition of SEMI’s World Fab Forecast report.


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