Demand Shift Sparks Wafer Fab Investments

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Investments in 300-mm wafer fabs are predicted to develop steadily by 2023, fueled by pandemic-driven demand for cloud providers, 5G wi-fi infrastructure and associated infrastructure construct outs as distant work and studying develop into customary options of every day life, in line with a chip trade forecast.

SEMI estimated this week that fab investments will develop 13 p.c on an annual foundation this yr, with a minimum of 38 new 300-mm fabs coming on-line over the subsequent three years.

The trade group stated the pandemic has fueled a surge in fab spending as demand for cloud providers, knowledge heart server capability and use circumstances like distant drugs and gaming drive demand for digital applied sciences. In the meantime, 5G wi-fi and associated edge computing deployments together with Web of Issues roll outs and machine studying workloads in knowledge facilities are driving demand for connectivity in knowledge facilities.

SEMI initiatives fab investments will develop by 2021, however at a slower annual price than this yr. Nonetheless, the trade group expects $70 billion in international fab investments by 2023—representing a chip trade milestone.

Regional competitors is one other funding driver, with China anticipated to sink billions into new chip fabs because it strives to cut back dependence on western suppliers by constructing an indigenous semiconductor sector. The trade group expects China to speculate closely in 300-mm wafer capability over the subsequent three years, accounting for as a lot as 20 p.c of worldwide chip manufacturing capability by 2024.

Different massive spenders embody South Korean electronics giants which might be anticipated to speculate as a lot as $19 billion over the subsequent three years in 300-mm fab capability. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is seen boosting 300-mm fab investments throughout the identical interval to about $17 billion.

SEMI stated reminiscence expertise will account for the majority of fab investments as functions resembling in-memory processing of massive knowledge continues to develop together with IoT and 5G edge computing deployments. The market tracker predicts reminiscence applied sciences alone will account for a 10-percent improve in fab capability.

Whereas contributions from NAND and rising 3D NAND applied sciences stay uneven by the forecast interval, SEMI stated this week that investments in logic and microprocessor applied sciences would steadily enhance by 2023.

(However, reminiscence specialists are once more pushing chip innovation as Moore’s Regulation runs out of steam. For instance, Micron Technology is predicted to announce 3D NAND developments within the coming days that might align flash reminiscence with data-intensive workloads.)

“The projected report spending and 38 new fabs reinforce the position of semiconductors because the bedrock of modern applied sciences which might be driving this transformation and promise to assist resolve among the world’s best challenges,” stated Ajit Manocha, SEMI’s president and CEO.

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