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Trade group inches China capex downward again

Posted: 14 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:semiconductor? semicon? Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International? wafer? manufacturing?

A major semiconductor trade group said early this week that it expects sales of semiconductor equipment in China to total $6.6 billion from 2006 through 2008. The estimate is slightly lower than its estimate from several months ago.

"Investment trends are evolving in China, with the future more promising for new fab projects by established semiconductor manufacturers compared to new entrants," said Mark Ding, president of SEMI China. "Fab projects that bring advanced technology and significant foreign-investment will find financing and government support more readily available."

At the same time, semiconductor equipment capital expenditure in China are expected to jump in 2006, but tool spending is projected to be relatively flat in 2007, according to the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) trade group.

Earlier this year, SEMI believed equipment spending in China from 2006 to 2008 would total $7.4 billion, about $870 million more than its latest call. In 2004, as China was rapidly developing, it believed the market would be billions of dollars larger through 2008. But many of the fabs that had been announced never came through, so the numbers have shrunk.

Still, China is hardly insignificant. If money spent on fab shells, clean rooms and R&D is factored in, SEMI said $9.8 billion will be spent through the forecast period. With equipment alone, SEMI believes China will hit $3 billion in annual spending by 2009inching its share of the total equipment market from 6 percent this year to 7 percent. If China booms again, then the numbers could be conservative.

SEMI said spending on 300mm wafer fabs will drive 70 percent of equipment sales, as at least five 300mm fabs are built and equipped during the next three years, including those at foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., memory maker Hynix ST Semiconductor and IDM/foundry Hua Hong NEC.

The forecast is part of SEMI's new report "China Semiconductor Wafer Fab and Foundry Outlook." Other key findings in the report:

  • Spending for new 300mm wafer fab equipment will dominate in the coming years with entry-level process technology at the 0.13?m node.

  • The annual growth rate at which China's established fabs add new capacity is beginning to reflect the real market demand, and by 2008, annual capacity growth is expected to be about 16 percent.

  • Fab material spending is projected to grow steadily over the next three years. Fab material spending in 2007 may be as much as 58 percent higher than in 2006, as the new 300mm capacity built in 2006 will be largely ready in 2007.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times




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