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Heard on the wire: Elpida to form JV with Taiwan's Powerchip

Posted: 14 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Elpida Memory? wafer fab? DRAM? memory chip? memory IC?

Japanese DRAM maker Elpida Memory Inc. said that it is still narrowing its site selection for a new wafer fab, although the company is now fueling speculation about a possible venture in Taiwan.

Yukio Sakamoto, president and CEO of Elpida, visited Taiwan last week, prompting speculation that the DRAM maker would form a joint fab venture with Taiwan's Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. "Nothing has been nailed down yet," said a spokeswoman from Elpida.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Elpida and Taiwanese DRAM maker Powerchip would form a memory venture. The company would take over an existing Powerchip plant in central Taiwan with an initial capital of $304 million, the Commercial Times reported.

Elpida's next fab has been rumored for several months. The DRAM maker has not finalized the location of a new wafer fab, the company said in a recent response to a newspaper report stating the fab would be in Taiwan.

For its new fab, Elpida is said to be looking at sites in Taiwan, Singapore, China or Japan. "China and Singapore already offered their enticement programs. Mr. Sakamoto visited Taiwan to meet government officials to sound out possible preferential treatment in Taiwan," said the Elpida spokeswoman.

Elpida is also trying to gain preferential treatment from the Japanese government, which could help bring the fab to Japan.

The next fab would have the same scale as its fab in Hiroshima, which will have a capacity of 100,000 300mm wafers a month.

Elpida announced last month it would expand its existing Hiroshima fab, investing $2.7 billion. Under the plan, the fab's current capacity of 55,000 300mm wafers a month would increase to 67,000 wafers a month by March 2007, 85,000 wafers a month by March 2008, and 100,000 wafers a month by March 2009. The expansion plan may be accelerated depending on the market demand.

- Yoshiko Hara
EE Times

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