Leading Asian chipmakers devise bold expansions for 2005

Jan 24, 2005 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken LPM, CENS
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Taipei, Jan. 24, 2005 (CENS)--Leading chipmakers across Asia have recently kicked off bold expansion plans as the first step of their 2005 production plans.

Recently, mainland Chinese chip-making giant Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) recently began constructing its US$175 million test and assembly factory in Chengdu of Sichuan province, the Singapore-headquartered pure foundry Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing raised US$653 million for the construction of its Fab 7 300-mm wafer plant, world's No. 1 pure foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) decided to speed up expansion of its 90-nm process capacity at its 300-mm wafer fabs, Nanya Technology Corp. planned to boost capacity at 300-mm wafer venture Inotera Memories Inc. with strategic partner Infineon Technologies AG and PowerChip Semiconductor Corp (PSC) would expand foundry capacity for flash-memory chips.

SMIC planned production at the Chengdo factory next year, with initial output set at 432 million chips a year. Once the goal is achieved, the facility will become the largest chip test and packaging house in mainland China. According to people familiar with the plan, the factory will primarily deal with orders from Japanese integrated-device manufacturers (IDMs) of LCD driver chips and the mainland's chip-design houses.

The Chartered raised the capital from banks including Bank of America and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) and its 300-mm wafer fab will be able to put out 15,000 wafers of chips a month as soon as its first-phase construction is completed.

After running its patented Nexsys 90-nm process production capacity for a while, TSMC will introduce the leading-edge process to its Fab 12 and Fab 14 300-mm factories sometime this year. The company's executives pointed out demands for its 90-nm process from customers specializing in chips for consumer electronics, communications, computers and other applications would surge sharply this year.

PowerChip estimated flash-memory chips to take up 10,000 silicon wafers, or 15%, of its 300-mm wafer fab capacity throughout this year. The company will process NAND-type chips with 0.11-micron process for Japanese partner Elpida Memory. Taiwanese insiders estimated PowerChip to unseat Winbond Electronics and Macronix International as Taiwan's largest supplier of flash-memory chips.

Nanya and Infineon will co-spend around NT$40 billion (US$1.2 billion at US$1:NT$32) on expansion of Inotera, boosting output to 62,000 wafers a month by the end of this year from current 24,000 wafers a month. They will further increase the output by 26% a month late this year or early next year.
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