Mon, Mar 14, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Chipmakers assess future

Staff Writer, with CNA

Local semiconductor manufacturers yesterday painted a mixed picture of the availability of semiconductor raw materials following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan on Friday.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said that its Japanese suppliers were not seriously affected by the earthquake.

However, the company said it had not yet heard about the earthquake’s impact on its customers.

Concern over the supply of materials was sparked after the production lines of crucial silicon wafer manufacturers, including Shin-Etsu Handotai Co, which has a factory in quake-affected Fukushima Prefecture, were temporarily closed following the disaster.

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s second-largest contract chipmaker, said its Japanese silicon wafer partners have production bases outside Japan, but also acknowledged that the full impact of the natural disaster had yet to be fully assessed.

UMC’s subsidiary in Japan, UMCJ, was partially affected by the earthquake, but was returning to normal operations as power was gradually restored, UMC said.

Powerchip Technology Corp (力晶), a major local computer memory chipmaker, was not so optimistic and believed the supply of silicon wafers would be affected.

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