The Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) announced on Dec. 4 that the semiconductor equipment sales derived in South Korea totaled US$2.2 billion in the third quarter of this year, down 36 percent from a year earlier and down 15 percent from the previous quarter.
The decrease in South Korean companies’ investment in semiconductor equipment has to do with memory chip market conditions. Last month, the 8 Gb DDR price per unit was US$2.81, down almost 50 percent from a year ago. Besides, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix had a hard time disposing of their DRAM and NAND flash inventories this year. The companies already finished large-scale investments through facility expansion that started in 2017.
On the other hand, Taiwan’s Q3 semiconductor equipment investment added up to US$3.9 billion, up 34 percent from a year earlier and up 21 percent from the previous quarter. These days, TSMC is purchasing a large amount of related equipment from Dutch company ASML to further refine its EUV process. The United States’ semiconductor equipment investment jumped 96 percent in one year to US$2.49 billion, too. System-on-chip market leaders such as Intel, Qualcomm and Nvidia led the investment growth.
China’s investment totaled US$3.44 billion, down 14 percent from a year earlier. Likewise, Japan’s investment fell 30 percent year on year to US$1.67 billion.