Strong fab equipment spending expected in 2015

March 11, 2015

SEMI today announced an update of the SEMI World Fab Forecast report that updates outlooks for 2015 and 2016. The SEMI report reveals that fab equipment spending in 2014 increased almost 20% and will rise 15% in 2015, increasing only 2% to 4% in 2016. Since November 2014, SEMI has made 270 updates on its World Fab Forecast report, which tracks fab spending for construction and equipment, as well as capacity changes, and technology nodes transitions and product type changes by fab.





Fab equipment*




$41 to $42

Change % Fab Equipment




2% to 4%

Fab construction US$





Change % Construction





Source: SEMI, March 2015. Chart US$, in billions; SEMI World Fab Forecast and its related Fab Database reports track any equipment needed to ramp fabs, upgrade technology nodes, and expand or change wafer size, including new equipment, used equipment, or in-house equipment and spending on facilities for installation.

Fab spending, such as construction spending and equipment spending, are fractions of a company’s total capital expenditure (capex). Typically, if capex shows a trend to increase, fab spending will follow. Capex for most of the large semiconductor companies is expected to increase by 8% in 2015, and grow another 3% in 2016. These increases are driven by new fab construction projects and also ramp of new technology nodes. Spending on construction projects, which typically represents new cleanroom projects, will experience a significant -32% decline in 2015, but is expected to rebound by 32% in 2016.

Comparing regions across the world, according to SEMI, the highest fab equipment spending in 2015 will occur in Taiwan, with US$ 11.9 billion, followed by Korea with US$ 9 billion. The region with third largest spending, the Americas, is forecast to spend about US$ 7 billion. Yet growth will decline in the Americas, by 12% in 2015, and decline by 12% in 2016 again. Fourth in spending is China, with US$ 4.7 billion in 2015 and US$ 4.2 billion in 2016. In other regions, Japan’s spending will grow by about 6% in 2015, to US$ 4 billion; and 2% in 2016, to US$ 4.2 billion. The Europe/Mideast region will see growth of about 20% (US$ 2.7 billion) in 2015 and over 30% (US$ 3.5 billion) in 2016. South East Asia is expected to grow by about 15% (US$ 1.3 billion) in 2015 and 70% (US$ 2.2 billion) in 2016.

2015 is expected to be the second consecutive year in equipment spending growth. SEMI’s positive outlook for the year is based on spending trends tracked as part of our fab investment research. The “bottom’s up” company-by-company and fab-by-fab approach points to strong investments by foundries and memory companies driving this year’s growth.

The SEMI World Fab Forecast Report lists over 40 facilities making DRAM products. Many facilities have major spending for equipment and construction planned for 2015.

About the Author

Rick Nelson | Contributing Editor

Rick is currently Contributing Technical Editor. He was Executive Editor for EE in 2011-2018. Previously he served on several publications, including EDN and Vision Systems Design, and has received awards for signed editorials from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He began as a design engineer at General Electric and Litton Industries and earned a BSEE degree from Penn State.

Sponsored Recommendations


To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Electronic Design, create an account today!