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2011 LED fab equipment spending to grow 40%

Posted: 15 Apr 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:light-emitting diode? LED? LCD? LED fab investment? LED manufacturing growth?

Driven by soaring consumer demand for LED technology, LED fab equipment spending will grow by 40 percent this year, according to the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) industry group.

According to SEMI's latest Opto/LED Fab Forecast, the rising global consumer demand stemmed from the widespread adoption of LED technology in LCD backlight applications and from the growing interest in LEDs for general lighting purposes. This, in turn, has fueled aggressive manufacturing investments into the LED (light-emitting diode) supply chain from equipment and materials to LED epitaxy and chip fabrication, as well as LED packaging capacity, the SEMI report showed.

The SEMI forecast also showed that some spending could be pushed back to 2012 if some of the investment projects do not ramp up as quickly as planned. Currently, SEMI projects the 2012 investment level will reach $2.3 billion worldwide.

Last year, SEMI disclosed that LED fab equipment spending grew three-fold, jumping from $606 million in 2009 to $1.78 billion in 2010. China led the aggressive investment trend in the region, accounting for nearly 50 percent of overall LED fab equipment spending. Local government subsidies have allowed new LED fab projects to flourish in the past two years in China.

According to the SEMI report, a total of 61 new LED fabs would become operational worldwide over the period 2010-2012, with 19 new fabs starting operation in 2010, another 27 being expected to go online in 2011 and the remaining 15 new fabs becoming fully operational by 2012. These would consequently push up LED manufacturing capacities for two-inch wafer equivalent by 50 percent this year to reach 6.509 million wafers per month, up from 4.35 million wafers per month in 2010.

The 18-month SEMI Opto/LED Fab Forecast monitors over 250 Opto/LED fab activities worldwide and is used to secure detailed information on fab construction and equipment spending, key milestone dates, capacity and ramp up schedule, among others.

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