Despite strong 2014 spending increases led by SanDisk and Micron Technology the top five ranking is unchanged, led by Samsung and Intel with spends of over $11 billion each.
The lead foundry TSMC is ranked third with slightly less than $10 billion and collectively these three companies will be responsible for 52 percent of a total semiconductor industry capex in 2014. The top five companies are responsible for 66 percent of the forecast total spend of $62.23 billion.
Nine of the top 10 companies are forecast to spend more than $1 billion in 2014 which represents a threshold of sustainability in leading-edge chip manufacturing. That said tenth-ranked SMIC with an annual increase of 35 percent to follow on from a 30 percent increase in spending in 2013 is striving to join the billion-dollar capex club.
SanDisk cut back its capital spending by 28 percent in 2012 and by 12 percent in 2013, according to IC Insights. Now it is set to implement a capital spending percentage increase of 86 percent, needed to expand production of advanced 3D NAND flash memory with its manufacturing partner Toshiba.