SEMI: Chip manufacturing equipment spending to hit record US$70b in 2021 after strong 2020

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 21): Global sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by original equipment manufacturers are projected to log a record high revenue of US$70 billion in 2021 on the strength of double-digit growth, said the US-based Semiconductor Equipment & Materials International (SEMI).

In releasing its mid-year total semiconductor equipment forecast at the annual SEMICON West exposition event, SEMI said chip manufacturing equipment are expected to increase by 6% to US$63.2 billion in 2020 from US$59.6 billion in 2019, before logging a record high in 2021.

It said growth across a number of semiconductor segments is expected to power the expansion.

Specifically, SEMI expects the wafer fab equipment segment to rise 5% in 2020 followed by 13% growth in 2021 driven by a memory spending recovery and investments in leading edge and China.

It also said foundry and logic spending, accounting for about half of total wafer fab equipment sales, will see single-digit increases in 2020 and 2021.

"Both DRAM and NAND spending in 2020 will surpass 2019 level and is projected to grow over 20%, respectively, in 2021," it said.

Meanwhile, SEMI expects the assembly and packaging equipment segment to grow 10% to US$3.2 billion in 2020 and 8% to US$3.4 billion in 2021, driven by advanced packaging capacity build-up.

It also said the semiconductor test equipment market is expected to increase 13%, reaching US$5.7 billion in 2020, and to continue the growth momentum in 2021 on the back of 5G demand.

In terms of region, SEMI said China, Taiwan and South Korea are expected to lead the pack in spending in 2020.

"Robust spending in China in the foundry and memory sectors is expected to vault the region to the top in total semiconductor equipment spending in 2020 and 2021."

As for Taiwan, after seeing 68% growth of equipment spending in 2019, SEMI expects the country to contract this year but bounce back with 10% growth in 2021, with the region maintaining the second spot in equipment investments.

It also expects South Korea to rank third in semiconductor equipment investments in 2020 by outstripping its 2019 level, making it the third top spender in 2020.

"Korea equipment spending is projected to grow 30% in 2021, powered by the memory investment recovery. Most other regions tracked will also see growth in 2020 or 2021," it said.