Semiconductor fab capex forecast for 2012

January 10, 2012 — Semiconductor fab equipment spending is expected to decline by approximately 11% in 2012 to $35 billion, according to preliminary data from the SEMI World Fab Forecast report. Spending on fab equipment will drop in the H1 2012, but will sharply increase in H2, bringing capital expenditure near to $10 billion by the fourth quarter.

Fab spending will remain higher than 2010 levels, despite the dip from last year’s $39 billion. Worldwide, Korea is the only region expected to show growth in fab equipment spending in 2012, mainly due to expected spending by Samsung. The forecast relies heavily on capex plans at industry heavyweights. Samsung, Hynix, Intel, and TSMC, among others, could spend more than anticipated. A best-case scenario would be -4% capex from 2011.

SEMI expects 2007, 2011, and 2012 to be the three highest fab spending years on record.   

Figure. Fab equipment spending. SOURCE: SEMI World Fab Forecast November 2011 edition.

The SEMI World Fab Forecast tracks installed capacity by fab, showing changes when fabs close and when product type or wafer size change. Despite the economic situation, 300mm installed capacity is expected to grow at a steady pace in 2012. In 2011, the installed capacity for 300mm grew by about 13% (YoY). The forecast anticipates a small slow down to about 11% in 2012 and increasing to about 12-14% in 2013.

Table. Fab spending by semiconductor companies, by region. SOURCE: SEMI World Fab Forecast November 2011 edition.

The SEMI World Fab Forecast uses a bottom-up approach methodology, providing high-level summaries and graphs; and in-depth analyses of capital expenditures, capacities, technology and products by fab. Additionally, the database provides forecasts for the next 18 months by quarter. Learn more about the SEMI fab databases at:

SEMI’s Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment Market Subscription (WWSEMS) data tracks only new equipment for fabs and test and assembly and packaging houses. The SEMI World Fab Forecast and its related Fab Database reports track any equipment needed to ramp fabs, upgrade technology nodes, and expand or change wafer size, including new equipment, used equipment, or in-house equipment. SEMI is the global industry association serving the nano- and microelectronics manufacturing supply chains. For more information, visit

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