Photronics takes fast boat to China

March 1, 2002 – Shanghai, China – Photronics Inc. detailed plans to expand into Shanghai, China during a land grant signing ceremony with officials from the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Corp.

The company established Photronics International Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. in Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone last year and has been operating an office in Pudong.

The recently approved new company, Photronics Imaging Technologies (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., a wholly owned foreign enterprise (WOFE), has announced plans that include building China’s most advanced reticle fabrication facility in the Zhangjiang Semiconductor Industrial Park, the center of the country’s semiconductor industry development efforts.
Over the next five years, Photronics plans to deploy approximately $300 million in infrastructure and advanced photomask manufacturing technologies necessary to support China’s rapidly growing semiconductor and wafer foundry industries.

Construction of Photronics’ first mega-photomask fabrication facility will begin early in the second half of this year and should be completed early in the first quarter of 2003. Zhou Yu Peng, Vice Mayor of Shanghai stated, “Shanghai is pleased to welcome Photronics, one of the world’s leading high technology companies, to Zhangjiang. Photronics will play a key role in the success of China’s rapidly developing semiconductor industry.”

Chairman Dai Hai Bo, Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Corp. added, “We are extremely pleased with Photronics’ decision to build in the Zhangjiang Semiconductor Industrial Park. This area is at the very center of semiconductor manufacturing and we needed the commitment of a leading supplier of photomask technology.”

“Shanghai is reminiscent of Hsinchu, Taiwan at its earliest stages of development. No other semiconductor producing region on the planet has as many new wafer fabrication projects actively being developed,” said Photronics Chairman and CEO Constantine “Deno” Macricostas. “Photronics has built five new photomask fabs over the last five years. As our growing base of Chinese customers build out their semiconductor manufacturing infrastructure, our experience, proprietary process technologies, and focus on customer service will be critical elements in their

Photronics obtained a land grant for a 22,000-sq-meter parcel of land and will build a three story, 18,000 square meter facility, including over 3,000 square meters of state-of-the-art clean room space, which will be capable of supporting technology nodes well beyond 130 nanometer.

As outlined, initial plans call for Photronics to match its manufacturing capabilities to support the most advanced technologies that have been approved by US governmental authorities, currently 250 nanometers. Photronics will support more advanced technology nodes as they receive governmental approval.

The first manufacturing lines installed will include Applied Materials’ ALTA 3500 and 3700 laser lithography tools, Hitachi electron beam lithography systems, KLA-Tencor inspection systems, and all other equipment that support Photronics’ sub-wavelength manufacturing processes. Photronics will upgrade its manufacturing systems and process technology, as required, to support the accelerating requirements of its Chinese customers.

Additionally, Photronics will provide critical data integration and optical extension services required by Chinese semiconductor design and foundry companies. China requires additional design integration and lithography modeling because China’s infrastructure is in its development phase.

Dan Del Rosario, Senior VP-Asia for Photronics noted, “Shanghai is emerging as Asia’s next preeminent semiconductor manufacturing region.

“By the end of this decade, Shanghai, often referred to as Silicon City, plans to have more than 30 wafer fabs in production. The demand for design and manufacturing talent will be supported by the numerous universities throughout China now aggressively graduating engineers and technologists for China’s new generation of semiconductor and reticle technologists. Furthermore, the burgeoning domestic demand for semiconductors is expected to stimulate tremendous amounts of design activity, making China a significant part of our company’s strategic growth plans. “

Nasa Tsai, president and COO of Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (GSMC) commented, “Photronics is a very important partner of GSMC and their presence will be an integral part of our success as a foundry. As a proven reticle technology supplier down through the 130 nanometer node, we are confident that they will meet our requirements as we receive government approvals to migrate to more advanced technology nodes.”

Ping Nieh, chairman and CEO of Ace Semiconductor (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. added, “Photronics is an important element in Ace Semiconductor’s total integration solution, from design through test and packaging. We are excited that our partner is establishing its newest facility in Zhangjiang, joining us in what we believe will be a leading center in the production of high performance semiconductors.”


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