The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Jan. 5 that South Korean semiconductor companies’ capex for this year and next year are estimated at US$18.9 billion, up 20.4 percent from a year ago, and US$19.7 billion, respectively. It also said that those of China and Taiwan are estimated to decrease 7.2 percent and 7.1 percent this year, respectively.

South Korean semiconductor companies are expected to rise back to the top in terms of capex in two years by making the largest investment ever,” the ministry explained.

Samsung Electronics is increasing its foundry and NAND equipment investments whereas China’s investment is on the decline due to U.S. restrictions on SMIC and Tsinghua Unigroup’s financial difficulties,” Hana Financial Investment said, adding, “When it comes to Taiwan, TSMC’s capex is already large.”

The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, in the meantime, recently forecast that this year’s global semiconductor market demand would increase 19 percent in the DRAM segment and 34 percent in the NAND flash segment.