Spending on computer chip factories is expected to see a significant increase next year – following a lackluster 2012. According to an industry group called SIRI, total fab spending for the equipment used to ramp fabs, upgrade technology nodes, and/or change wafer size may jump as much as 16.7 percent in 2013. If so, it would set a record for spending at $42.7 billion.
The spending for 2012 saw a five percent drop in 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The new spending projection includes new equipment, used equipment and in-house equipment. The predictions were included in a SEMI World Fab Forecast. It covers over 1,150 facilities. It notes that 76 of the facilities are either starting production in 2012 or soon, according to TMCnet.
One company that has been singled out for its role in the increase is Samsung (News - Alert).
“Samsung has begun an aggressive conversion of up to four existing Memory lines to System LSI,” according to the SIRI report. “A transition from Flash to System LSI is difficult; some drop in capacity in Memory is expected, but the company is expected to compensate by building a new fab for Memory, in Xian, China, with a massive investment of $7 billion. The fab is expected to begin construction mid-September 2012.”
In 2013, most fab construction will take place in Taiwan, China and Korea. According to the study, semiconductor manufacturing foundries are expected to add some $10 billion in additional equipment spending during 2013.
Between 2010 and 2012, over $6 billion will be spent in the Americas on fab construction projects. It is led by Intel (News - Alert), Globalfoundries, Samsung and Micron. Most of the construction will be completed by the end of this year.
The SIRI projection is more optimistic than other recent forecasts which range from 6 to 10 percent growth in spending, Christian Dieseldorff, an analyst for SEMI, told The Journal. He explained that Samsung is making chips for its products, such as tablets and smartphones, and also makes chips for Apple (News - Alert) and other companies. Intel may also increase spending on manufacturing capacity in 2013, he added.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli