Dataquest predicts expanding demand for chips

Jan. 6, 2003
JANUARY 6--Silicon-wafer demand will begin a major expansion between 2003 and 2004, as it will be driven by a combination of a recovery of device demand and the startup of 300-mm fabs, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc. (www.gartner.com)

JANUARY 6--Silicon-wafer demand will begin a major expansion between
2003 and 2004, as it will be driven by a combination of a recovery of device demand and the startup of 300-mm fabs, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc. (www.gartner.com). Dataquest analysts said there will be some delays in 300-mm fab projects because of feared cutbacks of capital spending by semiconductor vendors. However, there will be increased demand in 2003.

"At present, 300-mm wafer demand is estimated at approximately
200,000 wafers/month. It will grow rapidly with the reinvigoration of 300-mm fab projects and is expected to reach a level of 440,000 to 450,000 wafers/month in 4Q03," said Takashi Ogawa, principal analyst for Dataquest's semiconductor-manufacturing research group. "Coupled with the 300-mm wafer demand ramp-up, total silicon demand will expand appreciably at the annualized pace of 23% in 2004."

Fab capacity is expected to move to the Asia-Pacific region at an accelerated pace, and the region will hold a larger share of wafer demand in the world market, Dataquest said. In contrast, Japan will lose share because of the continued relocation of electronics production, the increased use of foundry services, and consolidation of local semiconductor operations.

"Leading Japanese vendors, such as Elpida and Toshiba, recently announced their intent to invest in 300-mm fabs," Ogawa said. "While the regional shift of fab capacity is an irreversible megatrend at this moment, it's worth watching how 300-mm fab projects of Japanese vendors will affect the regional distribution of wafer demand in the future."

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