Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Europe and Japan Fade As Semis Consolidate

Oh dear Oh dear. 25 years after the start of the European Megaproject, and 25 years on from when Japan had six companies in the world top ten and over 50% of the world semiconductor market, the mighty have fallen a long, long way.

Japanese and European combined semiconductor capex will be less than 10% of the total, says IC Insights, while Intel and Samsung will account for 42% of semi capex this year.

The top ten spenders will increase capex by 5% this year.

Five companies will spend at least S3bn – Intel, Samsung, TSMC, GloFo and Hynix.

For more companies will spend between $1bn and $3bn – Micron, Toshiba, UMC, and SanDisk.

No.10 in the top ten spenders is Sony on $460m.

‘IC manufacturers that are currently spending less than $1bn a year on capital outlays will find it just about impossible to manufacture using leading-edge digital processing technology,’ says IC Insights, ‘companies that are in significant trouble in this regard include Taiwanese IC suppliers Nanya, Powerchip, and ProMOS. These three companies combined spent only $276m in 2012, which is less than 10% of the cost of one new leading-edge IC fab.’

Some of the most “eye-catching” numbers with regards to the capital spending outlays are the massive amounts of spending expected by Samsung and Intel over the 2010-2013 timeperiod.

Over this four-year period, Samsung is forecast to spend $46.9bn, with about 60% of this amount targeting memory production.

Intel is forecast to be second to Samsung in total outlays over this timeperiod with an expected $40bn in capex.

These huge levels of spending are enough for each company to construct and equip ten or eleven $4bn leading-edge 300mm wafer fabs.

The combined spending by Samsung and Intel represented 40% of the world’s semiconductor capital outlays in 2012, with this percentage expected to rise to 42% of total capital spending in 2013.

Tags: capex, capital outlays, micron, samsung, sandisk

Related posts


  1. David Manners
    March 27, 2013 18:50

    Absolutely AnotherDavid, a billion isn’t what it used to be. A trillion is the new billion.

  2. AnotherDavid
    March 27, 2013 18:45

    I can remember when a billion ($ or £) was a lot of money. To banks, politicians and Intel / Samsung it looks like small change these days.

  3. David Manners
    March 27, 2013 13:44

    Mike Bryant writes: I think you can still build a memory fab for $4bn but logic fabs are fast edging towards $6bn. Mike Bryant