Semiconductor capital spending by Samsung Electronics has topped the world's semiconductor companies for the fourth straight year since 2010. In 2014, Samsung's semiconductor capex is expected to stay flat at US$11.5 billion as compared to the previous year. However, since Samsung plans to begin install production equipment at its Line-17 fab in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, its semiconductor capex in the second half of 2014 will be higher than that in the first half, according to Digitimes Research.
Having already set up seven semiconductor production lines in its plants in Hwaseong and Xian, China, the Hwaseong plant will aim to migrate to more advanced process nodes in 2014, while the Xian plant will focus on ramping up its vertical-NAND (V-NAND) flash capacity. The Line-17 fab, which is slated for completion in the second half of 2014, will focus on offering wafer foundry services using 20nm and below processes, Digitimes Research said.
Meanwhile, SK Hynix's capex for 2014 is expected to reach US$3.3-3.8 billion, up from US$3.3 billion a year earlier. SK Hynix' main capex for 2014 will be used to build its M14 fab. Construction of the M14 line is expected to begin in mid-2014.
Capital spending of other semiconductor companies, including Micron Technology, Toshiba and SanDisk will also top US$1.0 billion each in 2014. Micron is expected to accelerate the migration of its DRAM production to 20nm process, while also ramping up its NAND flash capacity.Toshiba will team up with SanDisk to expand the production capacity of V-NAND flash at its plant in Yokkaichi.
For non-memory chips, the 2014 capex of Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Globalfoundries and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) will also exceed US$1 billion each. While Intel will deepen its development of 14nm and below processes, TSMC will focus on 16nm FinFET process. Globalfoundries and UMC will raise the ratios of their 28nm production,while beginning to develop 20nm and below technologies.
Combined 2014 capital spending of these semiconductor firms with a capex budget of over US$1 billion in the year is expected to amount to US$49.3 billion, Digitimes Research estimates.
The top-three DRAM chipmakers will move to upgrade their processes to 25-21nm, while the NAND flash industry will stress on ramping V-NAND flash production as well as to migrate to 19-16nm processes.
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