SEMI: Taiwan, Korea drove 2007 chip equipment sales

Mar. 25, 2008 – Worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment increased about 5.7% in 2007, almost entirely due to a spending splurge by Taiwan firms and to a lesser extent Korea, and underpinned by extensive memory investments and the continued ramp of 300mm wafer manufacturing, according to the latest data from SEMI.

As a region, Taiwan spent more than anyone else in 2007, increasing investments by nearly 46% to $10.64B, taking the top spot from Japan, which showed minimal growth during the year (1.1%, $9.31B). Korea moved up to third place with 4.8% growth ($7.35B), while China surged 26.2% (to $2.92B), in spending. Other regions saw their investments shrink to varying degrees: the US (-10.6%, $6.55B), which slipped to fourth among global regions; Europe, which continued to lose ground (-18.2%, $2.94B) after falling 8% in 2006; and Rest-of-World (-17.9%, $3.05B), which aggregates Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and other areas of Southeast Asia, plus smaller global markets.

By technology, growth was seen in sales of wafer processing equipment (11%) and assembly/packaging (15%), but there was softness in between in the test equipment sector (-21%). Other frontend equipment, including those used for mask/reticles, fabrication facilities, and wafer manufacturing, collectively increased about 2%.

Other notable trends in the data, called out by SEMI:

– The total $42.75B in capital equipment sales is the second highest ever
– China’s new equipment market is now approaching that of Europe in terms of size
– The data covers seven major semiconductor producing regions and 23 product categories.

SEMI had already suggested that preliminary chip tool sales from North American suppliers rose about 3.2% in 2007 to $18.50B, though orders dropped -9.6% to $16.63B.


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