Record semiconductor fab spending on tap for 2013

June 6, 2012 — Fab equipment spending has improved in 2012, breaking the barrier into positive growth for the year, shows SEMI. Semiconductor makers will invest $39.5 billion in fabs, up 2% from 2011 spending. Fab capex will hit a record in 2013, $46.3 billion or 17% above 2012.

Figure 1. Fab equipment spending (front-end). SOURCE: SEMI World Fab Forecast, May 2012.

Korea will spend the most on fab equipment this year, topping $11 billion, and will increase this to $12.5 billion in 2013. Other regions with high 2012 spending include Taiwan ($8.5 billion) and the Americas ($8.3 billion). The Americas will leapfrog Taiwan in 2013, growing spending to $11.5 billion, while Taiwan will decrease spending to around $8 billion.

All product types are increasing equipment spending in 2012, with the largest increase in memory and foundry.

2012 capex reports:

Construction spending has an improved outlook when compared to just a few months ago, with major announcements from Intel, Samsung, SMIC, TSMC, UMC and others. SEMI has identified about 45 planned projects (including new and ongoing) in 2012 and 24 planned in 2013. Fab construction spending will drop only 6% in 2012 to $6.2 billion. Fab construction spending in 2013 should improve dramatically, with a decline of only about 1% to $6.1 billion.

Figure 2. Spending on semiconductor fab construction. SOURCE: SEMI World Fab Forecast, May 2012.

In 2012, 11 new fabs will begin construction. The combined planned capacity of all new fabs beginning construction in 2012 will be 900,000 wafers per month (in 200mm equivalents). Memory accounts for 60% of this capacity; foundry 20%; system LSI 20%. In 2013, only 7 new fabs will begin construction, though this picture may still change. The new fabs beginning construction in 2013 have a planned capacity for 550,000 wafers per month.

This latest data was published in the May edition of the SEMI World Fab Forecast. Using a bottom-up approach, the quarterly World Fab Forecast report tracks multiple projects in over 1,150 fabs worldwide. Since the February edition, over 340 updates have been made concerning more than 225 fabs, keeping the industry up to date on the ever-changing announcements of spending for fab equipment and construction. 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 a global industry association serving the nano- and microelectronics manufacturing supply chains. For more information, visit

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