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  • World IC Output to Hit 3.4M Wafers Monthly in 2000
  • March 2, 1998 (TOKYO) -- The production capacity of all the world's IC manufacturing lines for 200mm wafers will reach 3.4 million wafers per month toward the end of 2000, according to a survey by Nikkei Market Access.
    The survey, conducted at the end of 1997, quizzed all the world's IC manufacturers about their current and future plans for investment in new plants and equipment.

    It is clear from the survey's outcome that if production capacity grows at this pace, it will continue to outstrip demand. (See chart.)

    Production capacity in 1997 was about 1.7 million wafers per month. By comparison, the survey shows that the planned expansion in output between now and 2000 means the volume of production will be about double that of 1997.

    In addition, the pace at which manufacturers are working to further miniaturize their ICs also is increasing. Taking this into account, in 2000 the total production capacity of individual ICs will have increased to 3.3 times the production level in 1997.

    If production capacity actually does increase as the survey suggests, then unless the year-on-year increase in demand for ICs tops 48 percent growth, the current state of oversupply will continue until 2000.

    Nikkei Market Access also conducted the same type of survey a year earlier. At that time it came to the same conclusion: that the oversupply of chips would continue. In that survey, the results predicted that the monthly production capacity of all the world's IC manufacturing lines for 200mm wafers in 2000 would be about 3.9 million wafers.

    By comparison, the results of the latest survey show a more than 10 percent reduction in the estimated figure. This is thought to be because IC makers have been scaling down their investment plans in light of the current sluggishness of the semiconductor market.

    Despite increasing signs over the past year that manufacturers are making efforts to hold back new investment, current plans would continue the oversupply situation.

    It is expected that from now on IC makers will have to resign themselves to continuing to cut back plans for new investment and to reconsidering what products they should focus on manufacturing in the future.

    Chart: Output of world's 200mm wafer lines

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    (Nikkei Market Access)

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    Updated: Sun Mar 1 17:32:34 1998