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Wednesday, 05 January 2011 10:04

More than 15 wafer fabs shut

Written by Nick Farell

Absolutely fabless
More than 15 wafer fabs were shut down in 2010 and eight more will close in 2011.

According to a report by SEMI the mothballing of wafer fabs is coming as more IDM companies aim to cut costs and become fab-lite and fabless. It predicts that there outsourcing will only get greater in coming years and we can expect more fabs joining the dodo in going extinct.

According to SEMI statistics, 11 of the shuttered fabs were 8-inch fabs and one was a 12-inch facility. For 2010, six 8-inch, three 6-inch, two 5-inch, a 4-inch, a 3-inch and two 2-inch fabs were shut down.

Digitimes reports that 2011 will see one 8-inch, three 6-inch, two five-inch and two 4-inch fabs close down. The winners will be TSMC, UMC, Globalfoundries, SMIC and Samsung Electronics who are likely to be the outsourcing partners and will make a killing out of it.

Nick Farell

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+17 #1 Regenweald 2011-01-05 11:04
This could be good news, more money for the big fabs could mean more funds for moving to smaller processes faster/more seamlessly and more funds for process research. Sad to see the small fish go under still.....
+5 #2 DarkPhoenix 2011-01-05 14:58
Quoting Regenweald:

Big fabs never really had problems with money. The problem in going to smaller processes is its complexity. I'm sure that a big chunk of money in those big fabs is already invested in research, but these things just take a lot of time to perfect and sometimes, it doesn't even go that well.

I'm also not really sure that this is exactly good news for the big fabs. Sure it certainly means more money, but capacity will be a problem, if they need to accommodate much more customers than they do now. That means a bigger investment in new factories.
+3 #3 Super XP 2011-01-05 15:39
What about Toshiba and Panasonic? I believe they have fabs also. Outsourcing is O.K. to a certain extent, providing you try to keep good paying jobs and not this slave labour crap going on in China.
+2 #4 Bl0bb3r 2011-01-05 15:49
Actually, DarkPhoenix, they have problems with money... tools for latest processes cost in the billions and that cost is taken care of through higher chip prices, making it more of our problem than theirs. But if they have more facilities, when the time comes to label the new tools as old, they can just upgrade older fabs which have long obsolete tools and keep the new "old" ones for clients that aren't demanding the latest. Otherwise, with fewer fabs they have to upgrade, so still shell out a lot of cash for tools that would otherwise still be profitable as they are. This all means lower chip prices for the older tech, which is still better than nothing in this economy.
0 #5 East17 2011-01-06 04:24
I'm not sure this is good news .

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