According to the SEMI Opto/LED Fab Forecast, capital investments in LED fabs reached US$1.78 billion in 2010, up from US$606 million in 2009. SEMI expects that LED equipment growth will continue this year to reach about US$2.5 billion, a 40% increase year-over-year.
However, SEMI noted that should some projects not ramp up as quickly as planned, some spending could be pushed to 2012. Currently, SEMI forecasts the 2012 investment level to be in the region of US$2.3 billion worldwide.
Leading LED producers such as Cree have noted that overcapacity exists in the market, squeezing margins.
According to SEMI, regional equipment spending shows an aggressive investment trend from China, accounting for almost 50% of overall equipment spending.
In regards to new LED fabs, SEMI recorded 19 new fabs that started operation in 2010, with another 27 new operation fabs expected in 2011. For 2012, SEMI forecasts 15 new fabs coming online next year.