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300mm fabs add capacity despite memory price fall

Posted: 13 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:300mm fabs? memory price fall? fab capacity? DRAM?

A recent study by market research firm SEMI found that despite the steep pricing declines in the memory market, manufacturers continue to invest significantly in additional 300mm fab capacity.

According to SEMI, total worldwide 300mm capacity will double from the beginning of this year by the end of 2008 as 25 new 300mm high-volume fabs come online. By the end of 2008 only 73 300mm fabs will provide over 6.2 million wafers per month. The fab landscape is changing; fewer but larger fabs are being constructed, the firm notes.

Having reached record levels in 2006, fab construction spending is expected to decline slightly this year, with Taiwan and Japan accounting for the largest share of worldwide construction spending at 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, followed by China with over 16 percent. These investments are for 300mm and memory, as device manufacturers are expecting a significant increase in demand for DRAM and flash.

The study also revealed that even foundries have retained their ambitious capex plans for 2007. Fab construction expenditures are expected to increase 40 percent to reach to record levels of $10 billion in 2008, with South Korea expected to have the largest growth followed by Southeast Asia.

In addition, a closer look at fab equipping trends reveals 5 percent growth this year and another 5 percent increase projected in 2008. In 2007, Taiwan is expected to account for over 24 percent of fab equipment spending, followed closely by Japan at almost 22 percent. South Korea is expected to represent about 17 percent of worldwide spending for fab equipment. These investments will result in a 17 percent increase in worldwide fab capacity this year and about an 11 percent increase in 2008. Meanwhile, memory products will comprise about 38 percent of all worldwide capacity this year and 40 percent in 2008.

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