ProMos, Hynix team up for 12-inch wafer manufacturing

Dec 23, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 23, 2003 (CENS)--ProMos Technologies Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor recently inked a partnership pact on DRAM (dynamic random access memory) production, with Hynix pledging to license its leading-edge processing technologies in exchange for ProMos's 12-inch wafer output capacity.

Taiwanese industry insiders in this line pointed out that the deal will help Hynix relieve countervailing-tax punishment slapped by the U.S. and European authorities for its allegedly accepting South Korean government's export subsidies. The punishments are imposed on only chips directly exported from South Korea.

Under the alliance terms, Hynix will license its 90-nanometer Stack processing technology to ProMos, which will in return build DRAM chips with the processing technology for the South Korean chipmaker. ProMos spokesman Y.C. Lin pointed out that his company will introduce the leading-edge processing technology into its second 12-inch wafer factory in 2005. The factory may be constructed at the Central Taiwan Science Park. The two parties, he added, will work hand in hand on 65-nano and 70-nano processing technologies.

Some industry insiders are worried that the partnership may eventually hurt the world DRAM market with oversupply, with their combined share of 25% or so, although the deal is expected to help Hynix regain the second spot in the world market from Infineon Technology. Currently, Hynix commands a 17% share of the world market while its Taiwanese partner controls 7%.

In addition to teaming up for DRAM production, the two companies may co-work on Flash memory production. Not long ago, Hynix licensed technology for building NAND-type 512-megabit Flash memory from No. 1 European chipmaker STMicroelectronics. ProMos is considering joining the team.

ProMos's Lin pointed out that his company plans to move its eight-inch wafer tools to mainland China to focus on chip foundry service. The space left at the Taiwan eight-inch wafer factory will be filled with 12-inch wafer tools to help boost output on its 12-inch wafer lines to 50,000 wafers from current 13,000 wafers.

ProMos turned to Hynix for 90-nano processing technology following breakup on talks over similar cooperation deal with Elpida Memory of Japan.
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