Korea is on track to top all other regions in fab investment, spending $63 billion between 2017 and 2020, with powerhouses Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix leading the way, according to latest World Fab Forecast Report by SEMI. Samsung Electronics increased fab investments $770 million to $12 billion this year, and SK Hynix upped its spending a significant $2.8 billion to $7.25 billion in 2018.
Korea's investment companies anticipate continued growth for both companies in the second half of 2018.
Under this halo of extraordinary investment, nearly 380 SEMI Korea members and industry analysts gathered for 2018 SEMI Korea Members Day on September 13 to share insights on semiconductor market trends and new technologies that could help members bolster their competitiveness. Following are key takeaways from the event.
Korea semiconductor market to grow 16% in 2018
That’s according to IDC Korea VP Kim Soo-kyung, who noted that data center, memory and Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming key growth drivers for the semiconductor industry. He encouraged semiconductor companies to closely track development of automotive technology and the industry semiconductor market, both key growth areas.
SEMI Korea president H.D. Cho opens SEMI Korea Members Day 2018
Continuing fab investment will lead to oversupply, but display will shine
Market entry by Chinese companies will also spur the oversupply, said Jeong Won-Seok, an analyst at HI Investment Corp. He noted that the oversupply will force Korea into stiffer competition with other regions. However, with OLED used for a wide variety of devices and the display industry seeing rapid growth, the sector will remain ripe for growth among Korean companies.
Interconnecting various applications is a big semiconductor industry trend
The need for these interconnections will stand out in the mobility and high-performance computing (HPC) markets, said Park Sung-Soon, principal research fellow at Amkor Technology Korea, who addressed trends in packaging technology. He also emphasized interconnection cost efficiency as key to maximizing competitiveness.
Smart Manufacturing is driving mass customization
As semiconductor industry growth continues, production methods are shifting from ‘mass production’ to ‘mass customization,’ increasing the importance of Smart Manufacturing in driving greater production efficiency, noted BISTel VP Jeon Kyeong-Sik. Building a Smart Manufacturing platform to support large-scale production of specialized database and artificial intelligence (AI) chips will boost production efficiency, reduce costs and improve risk management. Virtual simulation will be a key enabling technology.
SEMI analyst Clark Tseng presenting at SEMI Korea Members Day 2018
Surge in data volume and technology advances to drive long-term semiconductor industry growth
These key industry drivers will continue to power fab investment growth, with spending focused on 3D NAND, DRAM, and foundry, said Clark Tseng, director of Industry Research and Statistics at SEMI. China alone will see eye-watering growth with the region’s investments in domestic companies surging 46% from 2018 to 2019 and fab investment by Chinese domestic companies outpacing spending by foreign companies in China, Tseng predicted.
SEMI membership rises with industry growth
Culminating the event, SEMI Korea president H.D. Cho said, "With the growth of the semiconductor market, the number of SEMI members is gradually increasing, and we will help member companies grow with various activities such as Korea Members Day.”
Jaegwan Shim is a marketing specialist at SEMI Korea.