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Samsung gets green light for memory fab in China

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NAND flash? wafer fab? 20nm-class?

The South Korean Ministry of Knowledge and Economy has approved Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd's planned NAND flash memory wafer fab in China. However, this is under the condition that key security measures be set in place to avoid technology leaks.

Late last year, Samsung was revealed to have been seeking permission to spend about $4 billion on a NAND flash memory wafer fab in China and get it up and running by 2H13. The plan calls for the fab to begin production on a 20nm-class process. The location of the wafer fab has not yet been disclosed.

The ministry made the decision after holding two meetings of its industrial technology security committee to assess the risk of technology leaks.

The 300mm wafer fab is scheduled to have a manufacturing capacity of 100,000 wafer starts per month that would make it about half the size of Samsung's Line-16 megafab, which the company claims to be the world's largest memory factory.

The Line-16 megafab is expected to eventually produce NAND flash on 200,000 wafers of 300mm diameter monthly and the phased investment is expected to total about $10 billion (12 trillion won) to completion. Samsung began mass production of 20nm-class NAND flash memory there at a rate of about 10,000 300mm wafers per month in September.

Samsung wants to build the NAND flash chip factory to be near to the contract electronics manufacturers that make the world's smartphones and tablet computers, which often have their own megafactories in China for cost reasons.

Market research firm Gartner Inc. has estimated the global NAND flash market at about $25 billion last year and is forecasting 14 percent annual growth in each of 2012 and 2013 to take the market to $28.7 billion and $32.7 billion, respectively.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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