As the size of advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes continues to shrink, the price of related equipment has become more and more expensive, and major fabs have increased their capital expenditures.
TSMC, Intel and Samsung have introduced extreme ultraviolet light (EUV) technology to create smaller and more efficient processors. The related equipment is extremely expensive. The capital expenditure of the three major manufacturers has soared, and ASML and other equipment manufacturers have become beneficiaries .
The Wall Street Journal reported that major wafer foundries challenge the physical limit with the latest process and need EUV lithography technology as a helper. Compared with common light sources, the system using EUV can make the chip circuit more miniaturized, but the construction cost of advanced fabs has also risen. TSMC announced two years ago that the construction cost of the new plant reached 20 billion US dollars.
The key is that EUV lithography equipment is expensive. ASML announced that it sold 7 sets of EUV systems in the third quarter and earned 743 million euros, which is equivalent to an asking price of more than 100 million euros (approximately NT$3.368 billion) per system. This does not include the cost of semiconductor process control and testing equipment.
TSMC is deeply involved in the advanced process of wafer foundry. In October, it said that the powerful version of the 7nm process will introduce EUV technology. It will start mass production in the second quarter of this year, and the yield rate is already quite close to the 7nm process. Enter mass production before the end of the year.
At the same time, it has become a trend that the capital expenditure of leading wafer foundry manufacturers has increased significantly.
TSMC announced in October that capital expenditures for this year will reach US$14 billion to US$15 billion, which is nearly 40% higher than the original target. Intel (Intel) subsequently announced an increase of 3%, and its capital expenditure target for this year will reach 16 billion US dollars, a new high since the establishment of the company, which is 36% higher than two years ago. Samsung (Samsung) announced last week that this year’s semiconductor business capital expenditure will be about 20 billion US dollars.
The amount announced by Samsung is slightly less than last year, but industry analysts expect Samsung to significantly reduce investment in memory production this year in order to invest more resources in next-generation wafer foundries.
Driven by EUV technology, semiconductor equipment factories have benefited a lot. ASML received 23 EUV system orders in the third quarter, a record high for a single quarter; KLA-Tencor, a semiconductor process control equipment manufacturer, announced last week that its revenue in the first quarter of the fiscal year increased by 29%. He also stated that EUV investment is the main driving force for performance growth.
Since the beginning of this year, the stock prices of ASML and Kelei have risen by 76% and 94% respectively. The report pointed out that the demand for EUV is expected to be stronger next year, and the prospects for semiconductor equipment factories are bright.
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