April 29, 2002 – Taipei, Taiwan – United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) said it was slowing the pace of its mainland China investment now that the global microchip market was improving.
“China’s semiconductor market really does have potential over the long term, but in the short term there is no urgency,” said John Hsuan, CEO of UMC. “Now that the business climate is improving, our responsibility is to take care of our business. Our priority right now is to realize alliances with customers.”
It was a sharp change in tone since last quarter’s investor conference, when company Chairman Robert Tsao unveiled a plan to get a head start on the China market by agreeing to acquire a mainland partner’s plant as soon as the Taiwan government allowed it, reported Reuters.
The government has since come through on a promise to drop its ban on local chipmakers setting up plants in China — with stringent limits on technology transfer and other restrictions — but the mainland’s short-term appeal is fading.