June 9, 2004 – Elpida Memory Inc. plans to spend between 450-500 billion yen ($4.1-$4.5 billion) over three years to construct what would be the world’s largest DRAM facility, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The plant, to be constructed at the site of its subsidiary in Hiroshima, Japan, would produce 10,000 90nm 300mm wafers/month by 3Q05, with eventual output of 60,000 wafers/month. Elpida also plans to boost production at its existing Hiroshima facility by 25% to 28,000 wafers/month by the end of the fiscal year in March 2005. About 60 billion yen ($545 million) would be spent on the infrastructure, cleanroom, and related facilities, with the rest used for new equipment, according to Reuters.
The impetus for the investment is twofold, according to CEO Yukio Sakamoto: the expansion at the existing Hiroshima facility “is for us to make enough profit for survival,” while the new giant fab “is for us to grow drastically in this market.” Elpida, which currently holds about 4% of the global DRAM market, would leapfrog to more than 30% when the new plant comes online; Samsung led the market in 2003 with just under 29% share.
The new plant would surpass the current largest DRAM facility, owned by Infineon Technologies AG and Nanya Technology Corp. in northern Taiwan, which has been online since March with production to ramp to 50,000 300mm wafers/month by the end of 2005.