STATS ChipPAC mulls approaching TSMC over cooperation deals

Jan 25, 2005 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken LPM, CENS
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Taipei, Jan. 25, 2005 (CENS)--The Singapore-headquartered chip assembler STATS ChipPAC Ltd. Is planning to talk with foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) over co-work on flip-chip packaging service.

The Singapore chip tester and packager may ask TSMC to sell it its obsolete wafer-bumping process and equipment for 200-mm wafers as well as team up with it on a project to build a new wafer-bumping facility for 300-mm wafers in Taiwan. Solder bump is an ideal packaging material for keeping excellent heat dissipation in encased chips.

Chip-making equipment suppliers in Taiwan pointed out that STATS ChipPAC would open a wafer-bumping facility in Taiwan through its Taiwan affiliate Winstek Co. if the plan to cooperate with TSMC fails. Winstek executives said they had not learned any information about cooperation deal from STATS ChipPAC.

Industry watchers in Taiwan pointed out that STATS ChipPAC was eager to acquire flip-chip packaging capability since it was aware that it was not be able to compete with Taiwanese rivals without the capability. The Singaporean chip company, the watchers added, had not been available for seeking partners in Taiwan until recently after it acquired mainland Chinese chip assembler ChipPAC.

TSMC executives recently pointed out that their company did not rule out any possibility of cooperating with the Singaporean chip test and packaging house, but it would not sell the mentioned equipment and process to it. They added that TSMC had entered into alliances with chip assemblers Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) Inc. and Amkor Technology Inc. on wafer-bumping process.

Chip-making equipment suppliers noted that flip-chip packaging contains at least two major processes—the solder-bump process similar to foundry suppliers' wafer-bump process and the ball-grid array (BGA) packaging process. Taiwanese chip assemblers ASE and Siliconware Precision Industry run in-house solder-bump manufacturing and BGA-packaging lines, enabling them to offer flip-chip service. Amkor of the United States has been able to offer the service since it acquired Taiwanese chip packager Unitive Semiconductor Taiwan Corp. in July last year.
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