The electronics industry has seen significant growth in recent years, and with this growth comes the need for increased production and manufacturing of electronic components. One of the key components in the industry is silicon fabrication facilities, commonly known as FABS. These facilities are responsible for the production of the silicon wafers used in the creation of electronic components such as microchips, processors, and sensors. The global market for FABS is a rapidly evolving one, with changing dynamics that affect both demand and supply. the semiconductor industry continues to grow and expand, with an increasing number of fabs processing 300 mm wafers for the production of ICs and non-IC products.
The move towards larger wafer sizes, such as 300 mm, has been driven by the need to increase productivity and reduce costs in the semiconductor manufacturing process. By using larger wafers, manufacturers can produce more chips per wafer, which reduces the cost per chip and increases overall efficiency.
The fact that the number of 300 mm wafer fabs increased by 14 in 2021 is significant and indicates that there is still strong demand for semiconductor products. This growth is likely being driven by a range of factors, including the increasing demand for electronics in various industries, the rise of the internet of things (IoT), and the ongoing development of new technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI). It will be interesting to see how the semiconductor industry continues to evolve in the coming years and how new technologies and innovations will shape its future.
One of the most significant changes in recent times has been the reduction in reliance on Chinese FABS, as at the end of 2020 15.3% of the world’s capacity. This shift has come about due to the ongoing trade tensions between China and the West especially US companies who are banned from outsourcing manufacturing of equipment due to IP (Intellectual Property) concerns.
Many companies that were previously reliant on Chinese FABS have started to look for alternatives, primarily in Southeast Asia. This trend has been fuelled by rising labour and production costs in China, as well as concerns over supply chain disruptions.
The global tension between China and Taiwan has also had an impact on the FABS industry. Taiwan is a key player in the industry, with many of the world’s leading FABS located on the island. The ongoing political tensions between China and Taiwan have raised concerns about supply chain disruptions, particularly as China seeks to increase its own production capabilities. Companies that rely on Taiwanese FABS are now looking to diversify their supply chains, which has led to increased investment in FABS in other parts of the world.
One region that has seen significant growth in FABS in recent years is the West. Countries such as the United States and the European Union have recognised the importance of maintaining a strong domestic supply of electronic components. As a result, there has been a concerted effort to increase the number of FABS in these regions. This trend has been fuelled by government investment in research and development, as well as tax incentives for companies that invest in domestic FABS.
Looking to the future, the FABS industry is likely to continue to evolve rapidly. Advances in technology, increasing demand for electronic components, and ongoing geopolitical tensions will all play a role in shaping the market. Companies that are able to navigate these changes and adapt to new market conditions will be well-positioned for success in the coming years. Those that are too reliant on a single supplier or geographic region may struggle to remain competitive in an increasingly complex and dynamic industry.
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