UMC puts Tainan on hold, eyes 0.18 micron
Taiwan — The UMC Group has shelved plans for a 10-year, $15 billion wafer fab investment program in the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park in Taiwan, preferring instead to focus on expansions in the Hsinchu industrial park and acquisitions of fabs elsewhere in the world.
At the same time, UMC is beginning pilot production of 0.18 micron devices, and expects to begin full production by the end of first quarter 1999. Copper interconnect capabilities are to be added in third quarter 1999, with a 0.15 micron process introduction set for 2000. “Our thing is volume; we`re going to ramp 0.18 micron pretty agressively,” says Jim Ballingall, vice president of worldwide marketing for the UMC Group.
The Tainan plan, announced in late April, 1998, had called for one 200-mm and five 300-mm fabs to be built in the new park. UMC officials cited the slow development of infrastructure at Tainan and market conditions as reasons. Current plans call for the plan to be brought back in the second half of 1999.
Ballingall notes that UMC was to buy into a Nippon Steel fab in Japan in a deal slated to close Dec. 15, 1998. “It makes a lot more sense economically to look at fabs that are already up, ” he says. “You can get a pretty good deal on ones that are under-utilized.”
Ballingall also points out that tight real estate conditions in Hsinchu had loosened in recent months, with some land that had been spoken for becoming available, thus enabling additional expansion there. A shell for the firm`s IC5 fab is under construction there, with completion now slated for early 1999. Equipment will be added when market conditions warrant, says Ballingall.
Reprinted from WaferNews, a weekly newsletter published by PennWell covering the semiconductor equipment and materials community. For information on subscriptions, check the web at www.wafernews.com, or contact Jill Wood at 603/891-9174, fax 603/891-0597, or e-mail [email protected].