Mar. 18, 2008 – Regional news reports suggest that Japan’s Elpida Memory is working with China’s Hejian Technology to build a $2B 300mm/30,000WPM capacity DRAM fab, with half of the funds to be raised by the Suzhou government, much like a similar fab proposal earlier this year with SMIC.
The deal would be the first 300mm fab in China involving a Taiwan firm, according to Digitimes — a reference to Hejian’s ties to Taiwan’s No. 2 foundry United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), which have been scrutinized by the Taiwan government. Hejian reps cited by both the Taiwan Economic News and Digitimes had no comment.
The Taiwan Economic News points out the news, which apparently was leaked by Chinese officials during this week’s SEMICON China, suggests UMC is eyeing a move into the memory sector to add another revenue stream beyond silicon foundry services. UMC and Elpida have separately announced a deal to jointly offer foundry services to Japanese customers, building on work since last fall to develop a copper low-k backend process for DRAM and phase-change random access memory (PRAM).
Digitimes cited SEMI China president Mark Ding saying that 300mm fab equipment investments will account for practically all (98%) of total new chip tool investments by 2010, with 0.13μm the lowest technological barrier.
Regional government support is powering surging interest in 300mm chipmaking facilities, according to Ding. Six Chinese cities now or will have 300mm fabs (Suzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenzhen, and Dalian), with another three (Tianjin, Yixing, and Hefei) also seeking investors to support new 300mm fab activities.