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Analyst: Samsung, Intel lead chip capex in 2014

Posted: 31 Mar 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IC Insights  capex  Samsung  Intel  SanDisk 

According to the latest data from IC Insights, memory manufacturers and foundries will be responsible for the largest increases in chip manufacturing capital expenditure this year. This is in a total market of $62.23 billion, forecast to increase by eight per cent compared with 2013, noted the market research firm.

Despite strong 2014 spending increases led by SanDisk and Micron Technology, the top-five ranking is unchanged, led by Samsung and Intel with spends over $11 billion each.

TSMC is ranked third at slightly less than $10 billion, and collectively these three companies will be responsible for 52 per cent of the total semiconductor industry capex in 2014. The top five companies are responsible for 66 per cent of the forecast total spend of $62.23 billion.

Nine of the top 10 companies are forecast to spend more than $1 billion in 2014, which represents a threshold of sustainability in leading-edge chip manufacturing. That said, tenth-ranked SMIC, with an annual increase of 35 per cent to follow on from a 30 per cent increase in spending in 2013, is striving to join the billion-dollar capex club.

SanDisk cut back its capital spending by 28 per cent in 2012 and by 12 per cent in 2013, according to IC Insights. Now it is set to implement a capital spending per centage increase of 86 per cent, needed to expand production of advanced 3D NAND flash memory with its manufacturing partner Toshiba.

Memory maker Micron Technology is also set to increase spending by more than $1 billion, a 58 per cent jump, as is pure-play foundry GlobalFoundries.

However, for consistent spending, Samsung and Intel remain dominant. Over the period 2012-2014, Samsung is forecast to spend $35.3 billion, with about 60 per cent of this amount targeting memory production, while Intel is forecast to be second to Samsung in total outlays over this same time with $32.6 billion dedicated to capital expenditures. Such spending is sufficient for each company to construct and equip several leading-edge 300 mm wafer fabs.

The capex of the "others" category is set to grow by three per cent in 2014, and IC Insights expects it to increase at a much slower rate than the overall market, as most of these other companies are now implementing a fab-lite or fabless business model for IC production.

- Peter Clarke
  EE Times

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