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Nanya to proceed with 12-inch wafer fab

Posted: 24 Jan 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:memory chip? nanya technology? wafer processing plant? fab? dram?

Memory chip maker Nanya Technology Corp. intends to proceed with plans to build a $2 billion 12-inch wafer processing plant starting in March, following the course of two other Taiwanese manufacturers who are accelerating plans for next-generation chip facilities.

The company hopes to begin equipping the plant at the end of this year, with full-scale volume production slated for 2003 using 0.115m processing technology. This will be the company's third fab, joining two other 8-inch wafer plants.

Last year, Nanya shelved the project to mitigate its expenditures during the industry's worst-ever year. Fortunes have improved lately, spurring a flurry of activity among the small DRAM players in Taiwan, which hold 10 percent to 15 percent of the market. After such a bleak 2001, during which memory prices plunged more than 90 percent, manufacturers are now more optimistic because of surging chip prices and the possibility of further consolidation in the industry. The cost of a 128Mb DRAM chip has risen 70 percent in the past month to $3 a chip.

Nanya will fund the capacity expansion with the issuance of global depository receipts, most likely late in the second quarter.

Two other chip makers in Taiwan are already farther along than Nanya on 12-inch wafer production. ProMOS Technologies Inc., an affiliate of Infineon Technologies AG, is quickly ramping up its facility and plans to churn out 5,000 wafers per month by the spring and 9,000 or more per month by year's end. Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. will also produce 12-inch wafers this year. The company recently stepped up its timeline for production, saying it will move in equipment in March instead of May and enter pilot production in July. By December, the fab will produce about 15,000 wafers per month.

Despite being relatively behind in the transition to 12-inch wafers, Nanya has beaten other manufacturers in bragging rights over double data rate DRAMs. It was among the first to shift over the majority of its production to DDR devices, which are once again commanding a premium over SDRAM after a brief time at parity. Nanya was also among the first to ship 333MHz versions of DDR.

Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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