Sat, Aug 18, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Winbond to invest NT$20.37 billion in Kaohsiung fab

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電子), the world’s No. 3 NOR flash memorychip supplier by volume, yesterday said its board of directors had approved a plan to invest NT$20.37 billion (US$661 million) to build a 12-inch fab in Kaohsiung to support growth.

The construction of the fab is to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, Winbond said in a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing.

The investment is part of the Hsinchu-based firm’s capacity expansion scheme, which Winbond announced in September last year and is to cost NT$335 billion over the next 15 years

The chipmaker has not invested in any new factories since 2004 amid volatile supply and demand.

Winbond last month said it expected a rosy outlook for the next three years, but that the availability of new capacity would be the company’s main constraint.

“We are seeing demand from tier-one customers increasing faster for certain DRAM [memory chips]. That is one of the reasons that Winbond needs to build a new fab fast,” company president Chan Tung-yi (詹東義) told investors last month.

Chan said the NOR flash memorychip market would grow more than 10 percent annually over next few years, while major chipmakers are trying hard to keep up with the pace of demand due to technology hurdles, he said.

Without the new plant, Winbond would only be able to rely on technology migration to expand its capacity.

At last month’s investors conference, the company said it would convert its DRAM manufacturing process technology to 38 nanometers this year, from 46 nanometers, and would begin producing next-generation 25 nanometer chips in small volumes in the fourth quarter.

By early next year, Winbond said its monthly capacity would increase to 54,000 wafers, up 12.5 percent from 48,000 wafers.

The capacity expansion would help support Winbond’s growth next year and in 2020, the chipmaker said.

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