Sat, Jan 15, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Japanese company to build wafer plant in Taiwan

STAFF WRITER , WITH BLOOMBERG AND CNA

Komatsu Electronic Metals Co, a unit of Japan's biggest maker of construction machinery, said it will invest ?23 billion (US$224 million) to build a silicon-wafer plant in Taiwan.

Komatsu Electronic will invest through Formosa Komatsu Silicon Corp (台灣小松電子材料), a joint venture with Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑), the nation's biggest industrial company.

It plans to make 50,000 units of 12-inch (300-millimeter) wafers per month at the new plant in the early stages of the operation, which is slated to begin next year.

The capacity will later be increased to 100,000 units a month, the company said.

Komatsu Electronic owns 51 percent of the venture with Formosa Plastics owning another 24 percent share of Formosa Komatsu Silicon.

The new 12-inch wafer plant is currently under construction at the Formosa Industrial Park in Mailiao, Yunlin County.

The Mailiao complex, also home to several of Formosa Plastics' petrochemical and plastics subsidiaries, covers 2,096 hectares of reclaimed land along the west coast.

Formosa Komatsu Silicon currently has an eight-inch wafer plant in the Mailiao complex, said a Formosa public relations official who declined to be named.

The plant is capable of producing 2.4 million wafers a year, with customers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), United Microelectronics Corp (聯電), Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技) and some Chinese chipmakers.

The new 12-inch plant is built to meet an increasing demand for the semiconductor industry, the official said. Taiwanese demand for 12-inch wafers will surge to 300,000 wafers next year -- or about 20 percent of global demand -- from 100,000 wafers a month at present, he added.

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