UMC’s 12-inch Wafer Venture in China to Break Ground in July

11 Jul

A 12-inch wafer plant jointly set up by China’s Xiamen municipal government and state-owned Fujian Electronics and Information Group will receive technological assistance from Taiwanese contract chip maker United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), and will officially break ground this month.

The joint venture, which boasts a total investment of US$5.3 billion, is slated to break ground on July 16 in Jinjiang City in China’s southeastern province of Fujian and will be used to develop DRAM technologies, according to Chinese media. An international seminar on semiconductor development will also be held in Jinjiang on July 16.

The joint venture was established by Fujian Electronics and Information Group and Jinjiang Energy Investment Co. and received a funding of 3 billion RMB (US$448.45 million) from Beijing. The 12-inch DRAM production line is scheduled to be completed by 2019 and is to be used for the development, production and marketing of DRAM and related products. Sources said trial production is scheduled for September 2018. The 12-inch plant will begin with 32nm production node in the early stage with a monthly capacity of 60,000 12-inch wafers.

Taiwan’s UMC said in a statement in May 2016 that the company was to sign an agreement with the Chinese joint venture to provide assistance in developing DRAM technology. UMC reiterated that the cooperation is limited to technological development and the Taiwanese company is not involved in and does not invest in the business operation of the joint venture. However, as China included DRAM in its national strategic guidelines for its semiconductor industry, many interpreted UMC’s move as a preparation for its entry into specialty DRAM market.

Meanwhile, UMC on July 7 also made public its June record. The company posted consolidated revenues of NT$13.53 billion (US$419.76 million) in June, up 6.5 percent monthly and up 12.2 percent year-on-year. UMC’s consolidated revenues for Q2 totaled NT$37 billion, up 7.5 percent from the previous quarter and beat its own forecast. UMC in June posted a second highest monthly revenue on company record, as its 28nm yield rate continued to improve in Q2 and orders from MediaTek and Qualcomm did not cease to grow.

UMC’s wafer venture in China marked another leading Taiwanese company that invested in semiconductor fabs in China. TSMC also broke ground on its 12-inch plant in Nanjing on July 7, with a scheduled completion in 2018.
(Photo courtesy of UMC)

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