by Michael A. Fury, Techcet Group
July 11, 2011 – The day before the official opening of Semicon West 2011 started for this participant with the SEMI press conference. The group forecasts $44B equipment sales, 12% growth following 148% in 2010. Capital spending this year is driven by Intel, Global Foundries, and Samsung, with regional spending rankings led by Taiwan, the US, and Korea. Materials were up 25% in 2010 over 2009, and SEMI sees another 6% in 2011 to $46B. Materials spending by region is projected to be, in order: Taiwan, Japan, SE Asia, and Korea. There are 30,000 folks pre-registered for Semicon and Intersolar combined.
The SEMI/Gartner Market Symposium followed with a full room of ~150 people. Vincent Tong, senior VP of Xilinx, led off the session with his view of the supply chain dynamics critical to success at 28nm and beyond. Short-loop learning cycles of three months or less will play a key role in climbing yield curves not just for the semiconductor, but for the complete package, he advised.
Some changes are ahead in capital spending, foretold Bob Johnson, VP of research at Gartner. The impact of the March 2011 earthquake & tsunami in Japan is now being reported to been for only one quarter on the global electronics supply chain, due largely to the excellent efforts of Japanese vendors. Smart phones are well on their way to being the largest consumer of flash memory, which is forecast to have a total demand of 140,000 petabytes by 2015. Media tablet PCs are flagged as the next killer app as a semiconductor growth segment. A buildup of chip inventories has facilitated a push out of fab capacity expansion. Capex spending in 2011 will be up 12% over 2010, driven by Intel, foundries, and NAND, with a slight decrease in 2012 as inventory demand catches up. Capital concentration is continuing, with the top five chip producers spending 56% of the capital, and the top 10 spending 70%.
SEMI’s senior director of industry research & statistics, Dan Tracy, confirmed a sharp recovery in shipments of all wafer sizes in 2010, with 300mm shipments ~50% greater than 200mm shipments. Fab materials are forecast to be $24.8B in 2011, up 8.1% over 2010 with another 4.9% growth expected for 2012. Gold bond wire is being replaced by copper, but is still >80% of the market, with 80% of that gold wire <25