SEMI: 300mm fab investments undeterred by memory price slump

August 8, 2007 – Despite worries that plunging memory device ASPs would dent profits and ultimately capacity investment plans, it seems device manufacturers are still pouring investments into 300mm capacity, according to data from SEMI.

Worldwide 300mm capacity is seen doubling from the start of 2007 through 2008, with 25 new 300mm high-volume fabs coming online. By next year’s end, 73 300mm fabs will churn out over 6.2 million wafers/month, SEMI notes, suggesting a changing fab landscape where fewer but bigger fab facilities will do most of the industry’s 300mm-wafer-output heavy lifting.

Coming off record levels in 2006, fab construction spending will decline slightly this year, led by Taiwan (30% of all spending), Japan (20%), and China (>16%), with investments going mainly to 300mm memory operations (DRAM and NAND flash), according to SEMI, citing its “Fab Database” report data.

Foundries are also maintaining their ambitious capex plans this year, and are seen surging an overall 40% to $10B in 2008 led by South Korea and others in the Southeast Asia region.

Fab tooling, meanwhile, should rise 5% this year, led by Taiwan (24% of fab equipment spending) and Japan (22%), followed by Korea (17%), investments, according to SEMI. That will translate into a 17% boost to total worldwide fab capacity, more than a third of which (38%) will be for memory. SEMI sees another 5% increase in tool spending in 2008, resulting in an 11% hike in total capacity, with memory accounting for even more of the world’s capacity (40%).


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