September 18, 2006 – Elpida Memory Inc. and PowerChip Semiconductor Corp. (PSC) are planning a joint 300mm DRAM fab in Taiwan, in an effort to become the top supplier in the worldwide DRAM market, according to the Taiwan Economic News.
Ownership in the new facility will be equally shared, as will as R&D results and production capacity, according to the report. The site, with projected output of up to 50,000 wafers/month, would cost an estimated $2.5-$3.1 billion in total investments; the companies plan to pay initial capital and then list the JV to raise the rest of the capital, according to the report.
Powerchip and Elpida see the move as one that will push them to the top of the world’s DRAM chip producers. Combined, the companies’ 300mm fabs will have total outpuut capacity of 180,000 wafers in 2006, more than current No. 1 Samsung.
Elpida had previously courted partners in Singapore and mainland China, but reportedly chose to build the fab with a Taiwan partner, due to domestic chipmakers’ proven ability to operate 300mm fabs efficiently, the report noted. For example, Powerchip and ProMOS Technologies Inc. have run their 300mm fabs at 85% and 80% capacity utilization, respectively, while Inotera Memories Inc. has seen utilization top 100%.
Last month Elpida countered a report in Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun that indicated Elpida was ready to spend multibillions of dollars over several years to build a new DRAM fab. Elpida stated that while it is considering a new fab as an addition to its existing facility in Hiroshima, it had no concrete plans for construction of such a facility, either in location or in timing.