China and Taiwan lead with eight fabs each, followed by the Americas with six, Europe/Mideast with three, and Japan and Korea with two each (Figure 1).
300mm fabs will account for 15 of the 19 being started this year, and seven out of the ten to be started next year.
The remaining seven fabs planned in 2021-22 will be 100mm, 150mm and 200mm facilities.
The 29 fabs could produce as many as 2.6 million wafers per month (in 200mm equivalents).
“Equipment spending for these 29 fabs is expected to surpass $140 billion over the next few years as the industry pushes to address the global chip shortage,” says SEMI CEO Ajit Manocha, “in the medium and longer term, the fab capacity expansion will help meet projected strong demand for semiconductors stemming from emerging applications such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and 5G to 6G communications.”
Figure 1: Projected fab construction starts
Projected Fabs by Sector and Technology
Of the 29 fabs starting construction in 2021 and 2022, 15 are foundry facilities with capacities ranging from 30,000 to 220,000 wafers per month (200mm equivalents).
The memory sector will begin construction on four fabs over the two-year span. Those facilities will boast higher capacities ranging from 100,000 to 400,000 wafers per month (200mm equivalents).
Of the Semiconductor makers beginning construction of new fabs this year, many won’t start installing equipment until 2023 since it takes up to two years after ground is broken to reach that phase, though some could begin equipping as soon as the first half of next year.
While the World Fab Forecast shows 10 high-volume fabs starting construction next year, that number is likely to climb as chipmakers announce new facilities.
The report tracks investments for fab construction and fab equipment, in addition to capacities, products and technologies from 2021 through 2022.
In addition to the 29 fabs expected to begin construction in 2021 and 2022, the World Fab Forecast report tracks eight low-probability projects that could start construction over the same period.