SMA: New Wafer Fab Construction To Boost Global Capacity Next Year

Thirty-five new fabs expected to increase capacity 17 percent for 2007.

In the recently published Quarterly Fab Report, Strategic Marketing Associates (SMA) forecasts 35 new fabs will begin to push the industry’s monthly capacity to a new high next year.

Collectively, all of the new fabs coming online in 2007 will have the capacity to produce up to the equivalent of 2 million 200mm wafers. Representing about 17 percent of the industry’s current total capacity, this increase brings both growth opportunities as well as the risk of overcapacity, especially in the memory arena.

“I’ve been tracking wafer fab metrics for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen a year like this one,” said George Burns, SMA president. “Theoretically, all the new fabs coming online next year will collectively have the capacity to process up to the equivalent of more than 180 acres of silicon annually.”

According to the Quarterly Fab Report, the fully equipped value of the 35 new fabs is expected to reach $56 billion over the next two to three years. Up to 60 percent of the newly added capacity is expected to be allocated for memory, specifically DRAM as well as non-volatile Flash.

Burns reports that semiconductor foundries are also setting a new record in fab construction, noting that Taiwan-based TSMC as well as China-based SMIC and Hua Hong Electronics all plan to bring new 300mm capacity online next year.

SMA’s Quarterly Fab Report sees equipment sales nearing an all-time high and capital spending by chip companies will grow by 14 percent this year to $47.3 billion and then by 10 percent next year to $59 billion.