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Foreseeing the Semiconductor Conundrum: Major Chip Foundries Rollback Investment Plans for 2023

Published: 11.6.2022

Contrary to the general trend of the semiconductor industry slowing down, businesses like ASML, Samsung Electronics, and TSMC announced third-quarter earnings that were above analyst estimates. Edgewater Research’s market analysis claims that in 2022, price hikes mostly drove sales growth and that capital spending has surpassed demand.

As the work-from-home trend gained traction, data centers and mobile electronics grew in popularity around the world. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the demand for semiconductors grew by 17% in the last two years, although the rapid rise at the time has since slowed. The shortage of semiconductors has severely hampered system production, particularly that of systems for the automobile and defense industries. 

Foreseeing the Semiconductor Conundrum

In the third quarter, component demand for PCs and smartphones fell. According to TSMC, Apple’s top supplier of innovative chips, demand for its innovative 7-nm chips has dropped leading to a detrimental impact on the node’s utilization rate. Other firms, including MediaTek, have reduced their production of 7nm and 6nm processors. 

Numerous industry experts claim that the consumer electronics sector will experience corrections throughout the first half of 2023 as inventory adjustments start to take place with many mass-market ICs. This has caused commodity items from passive component vendors like Yageo to decline by 50% to 60% in Q3 of 2022. 

Experts predict that for MLCC, and chip resistors, capacity and average selling prices will continue to fall over the first and second quarters of 2023. The outlook for 2023 is bleak due to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, restrictions on electricity use, Covid-19 lockdowns in China, and inflationary pressure. 

Due to the dismal outlook for 2023 and the declining demand for semiconductors, major chip foundries have decided to take a more conservative approach to their investments. 

As customers reduce or even cancel orders, chip foundries like PowerChip Semiconductor Manufacturing and Vanguard International Semiconductor have experienced a delay in expanding their fabrication facilities. Additionally, TSMC acknowledged reducing its $40 billion expansion budget to prepare for the uncertain year ahead. 

Following the lows seen in 2020 and 2021, aircraft manufacturers are now concentrating more on creating narrow-body aircraft, and 2023 is predicted to see a significant revenue recovery attributed to an increase in air traffic. Aerospace industry analysts promote opportunities available in their sector to profit from the chips. However, uncertain geopolitical climate, difficulties could still occur, therefore supply chain professionals are urged to digitize to avoid difficulties.