In a time of fab closures, a few fabs are springing up

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In a time of fab closures, a few fabs are springing up

By Christian Gregor Dieseldorff, SEMI Industry Research and Statistics
May 28, 2009

Since 1999, the industry went through three severe periods of fab closures. The first was in 1999 with over 40 fab closures. The second and worst to date was in 2002, following the burst of the dot-com bubble, with almost 60 fab closures.

The third period began in 2008. About 19 facilities closed in 2008 and we expect about 35 facilities to close in 2009. Fab closures, however, this is estimated to slowdown in 2010 with only about 14 facilities projected to close.

As companies are restructuring and closing fabs, it is remarkable to learn of fabs that are actually hiring. TSMC announced hiring hundreds of new engineers for their 40nm line (actually they re-hired employees that were previously laid off). CEITEC SA, located in Brazil, is also hiring. This 200mm fab south of the Rio Grande experienced a long phase of equipping and is finally producing products targeting the RFID and analog sector. Their design facility was inaugurated in March 2009, and the 50k wafers per year fab is already producing their first products.

Several new fabs are expected to begin construction in 2009: three are located in Europe/Mideast (including Russia) and two in the Americas. Only one of the new facilities (Globalfoundries) will be a high volume fab. In 2010, about seven facilities are expected to begin construction; of these, five are considered high-volume fabs.

In addition, there are up to nine facilities that are beginning operations in 2009. As reported in the World Fab Forecast, these fabs are located in The Americas, China, Japan, Taiwan, and Europe/Middle East. Three of these are 200 mm; one 300 mm and the rest are fabs with wafer sizes of 150mm and below. Three are foundries; two universities and the rest are for MEMS or discrete devices.

The recently released World Fab Forecast and FabFutures show that signs of increasing activities are already occurring and more are anticipated so the industry can begin to move forward again to invest in both new technology and new capacity.

The data in this article is derived from the SEMI World Fab Forecast. This report provides high-level summaries and graphs; in-depth analyses of capital expenditure, capacity, technology and products, down to the detail of each fab; and forecasts for the next 18 months by quarter. These tools are invaluable for understanding how 2009 and 2010 will look, and learning more about capex for construction projects, fab equipping, technology level, and products.

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