Facility investment by global chipmakers is expected to exceed 100 billion dollars (around 112 trillion won) this year for the first time. Industry tracker IC Insights said Friday that the semiconductor industry’s capital spending is estimated to reach a new high of 107.14 billion dollars (around 120.13 trillion won) this year, up 15 percent from a year earlier (93.48 billion dollars). Samsung Electronics is by far the biggest spender, with its capital expenditures projected to be at 22.6 billion dollars (around 25.36 trillion won), down 7 percent from last year (24.23 billion dollars) but accounting for 21.1 percent of the global total.
Intel came next with 15.5 billion dollars (around 17.38 trillion won), a 32 percent on-year increase. It was followed by SK Hynix, whose capex had a 58 percent on-year jump from 8.91 billion dollars to 12.8 billion dollars (around 14.35 trillion won) this year, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) with 10.25 billion dollars (around 11.49 trillion won).
“Samsung’s massive spending outlays in 2017 and 2018 will have repercussions far into the future,” said IC Insights, adding that the major spenders are still “forecast to cut their capital spending” next year. Industry watchers are divided over the record high capex spending by chipmakers. While some express concerns over side-effects such as overcapacity, others say that such large spending is part of the companies’ strategy to maintain the so-called “super-gap” in technological prowess.
Ji-Hyun Kim firstname.lastname@example.org