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STMicro sees own China fab within three years

Posted: 25 Sep 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:stmicroelectronics? semiconductor? memory? networking ic? power management ic?

STMicroelectronics will open a 12-inch-capable fab in mainland China within three years, once its revenues from that region reach $2 billion, a top executive said.

Laurent Bosson, VP of front-end manufacturing, said that once that revenue threshold is passed, the European firm will build a structure capable of 300mm wafers, although depending on circumstances initial equipment buildout could be focused on 8-inch manufacturing.

"We must be in China in the next three years," Bosson told a gathering of international journalists touring ST's 12-inch M6 fab here, which is under construction. "If you're above $2 billion (in revenues) in China, the authorities say 'Hey, where is your fab?'" ST has reported China revenues of just below $1 billion in its most recent reporting period.

ST has about 600 designer engineers dotted at three sites in China, and that figure could grow to 900 in the next few years, Bosson said.

The fab in China will be a copy of the M6 facility in Catania, Italy, a huge (220,000 square meters) plant said to be the largest project under construction in all of Europe. Bosson is quick to assert that the often-used "copy-exact" process strategy is not one adheres to, instead preferring "copy intelligently" to adopt lessons learned at earlier fabs. The new Catania fab, when it begins producing wafers in Q4 of 2004, will adopt the 90nm process that ST is developing in its Crolles-2 12-inch pilot line in France.

Catania has an older 6-inch facility, called M5, which handles half-micron design rules.

Bosson, in an interview, said ST will go it alone on the China project, preferring to maintain total ownership for both process-control and financial reasons.

- Brian Fuller

EE Times





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