The world’s top five silicon wafer fabs have secured demand from customers and set off a wave of factory expansion


With the successful expansion of new factories by semiconductor manufacturers, the production capacity of new fabs will be opened one after another. The production capacity of existing silicon fabs cannot keep up with the pace of semiconductor production expansion. In addition to production expansion, the world’s top five silicon wafer fabs have successively launched new fab expansion plans on the premise of securing customer demand, in order to make up for the industry’s supply and demand gap in the next few years and expand the company’s market share.

Since last year, there has been an extreme shortage of wafer foundry capacity. In response to the huge demand from customers, wafer foundries and IDM factories have expanded investment and production capacity. The mature process production capacity will be opened one after another from 2022 and will reach its peak in 2023. At that time, the tight production capacity situation is expected to be relieved.

However, in the past 3 years, the global silicon fabs have not made large-scale new plant investments, when TSMC, UMC, Intel After the new production capacity of semiconductor factories such as Samsung, etc., as the fab capacity continues to be fully loaded, silicon wafers will not be able to keep up with the needs of upstream and downstream customers in a timely manner, and the industry may face a shortage of goods. The industry estimates that the industry supply gap will be more than 10%.

In order to meet the needs of customers, the world’s top five silicon wafer fabs have successively released plans to expand their factories. After Global Crystal (6488-TW) acquired Shichuang, part of the funds originally planned for the acquisition was converted into capital expenditures. Total capital expenditure in 2024 will reach $3.6 billion, with a number of expansion plans for existing and new plants, of which $2 billion will be used to expand new plants.

Universal Crystal recently announced the construction of a new 12-inch factory in Italy, and the production capacity is expected to be opened in the second half of 2023. In addition to Italy, expansion plans including Denmark, the United States, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are also in full swing.

Coincidentally, SK Siltron, a silicon wafer factory in South Korea, also seized the opportunity to expand production. It is expected to invest US$810 million to build a new 12-inch factory. Construction will start in the first half of the year, and mass production is expected in the first half of 2024.

From 2006 to the first half of 2016, the silicon wafer fab experienced a period of oversupply in the industry for 10 years. Although various silicon wafer fabs have started to expand production, given the previous painful experience, the silicon wafer fab has The expansion of production has been relatively cautious. Most of them only announced the start of expansion after ensuring customer demand and signing a certain proportion of long-term contracts to avoid repeating the oversupply situation in the past.

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