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TSMC inks deal for first 300mm wafer fab in China

Posted: 30 Mar 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:300mm wafer? wafer fab? wafer design? Nanjing? China?

After disclosing plans to set up a $3 billion fab investment in China last December, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), has announced that it has signed an agreement with the Nanjing municipal government for the facility.

TSMC (Nanjing) Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of TSMC managing a 12-inch wafer fab and a design service centre, will be located in the Pukou Economic Development Zone. Planned capacity is 20,000 12in wafers per month, and the facility is expected to ramp up TSMC's 16nm process in the Nanjing fab during the second half of 2018.

"With our 12-inch fab and our design service centre in Nanjing, we aim to provide closer support to customers as well as expand our business opportunities in China in step with the rapid growth of the Chinese semiconductor market over the last several years," said TSMC Chairman Morris Chang.

The company began commercial production of 16nm process technology in 2015, when it accounted for more than half of the global foundry market for 14/16nm products, according to TSMC. The company forecasts significant increases in its 14-16nm market share for 2016.

TSMC said it has more than 100 customers in China. It is joining a growing list of chipmakers that have already started 12-inch fab projects in China, which, according to industry organisation Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), has one of the world's largest semiconductor markets, yet imports most of the chips it uses to assemble products, such as Apple iPads and iPhones.

TSMC to join elite chipmakers in China

TSMC would join Intel, Samsung, SK Hynix and Chinese chipmakers such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), which have opened or are underway with projects to make chips on 12-inch wafers, according to SEMI.

TSMC's compound annual growth rate for revenue from Chinese customers, including chip design companies such as HiSilicon, has exceeded 50% in the past five years.

TSMC expects the fab headcount to be 1,200. Initially, staff from Taiwan and an existing 8-inch fab located in Shanghai will help with construction and the production ramp up at Nanjing, with additional local hiring as the schedule proceeds. Before volume production starts, staff transferred from Taiwan will account for more than 50% of the personnel at Nanjing.

The Taiwan government has restricted domestic chip investments in China on concerns it will lose jobs and technology.

TSMC said it will keep its most advanced process technologies, key production lines, and core R&D efforts in Taiwan. The investment in China is aimed at increasing business opportunities in China, which TSMC said will have a positive effect on additional expansion in Taiwan.

-Alan Patterson
EE Times

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