US memorychip giant Micron Technology Inc yesterday said it was considering increasing DRAM assembly and testing manufacturing at its Taiwanese facility to help customers mitigate the consequences from punitive tariffs imposed by the US on some Chinese goods.
Micron made the remarks at a news conference following the ceremonial opening of its first advanced DRAM chip assembly and testing facility in Taichung.
Micron is to invest about NT$50 billion (US$1.61 billion) in the facility, the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) administration said.
“We are looking at the current issue. We are faced with the tariffs that the US levied against certain products from China,” Micron executive vice president of global operations Manish Bhatia told reporters.
DRAM modules, the final product of the DRAM assembly and test process, are to bear the brunt of the levies, Bhatia said.
Micron is making some adjustments to shield its customers from the levies, Bhatia said, adding that the chipmaker is using its global manufacturing footprint to alleviate any effects.
“Potentially, for assembly and testing, there are some aspects where we will be having more manufacturing in Taiwan,” Bhatia said.
Micron does not operate any DRAM or NAND wafer fabrication facilities in China, so there would be no changes to DRAM wafer manufacturing, he said.
Taiwan remains the largest DRAM manufacturing hub for the US company, with two fabs in Taoyuan and Taichung, he said.
Micron plans to increase its local headcount by 1,000 within a year, he said.
The chipmaker is the biggest foreign employer in Taiwan, with more than 7,000 employees, including 1,500 at the new chip assembly and testing fab.
Micron is to provide assembly and testing services for 3D ICs and high-bandwidth mobile DRAM used in flagship smartphones, as well as other high-value and leading-edge products.
The DRAM industry would remain structurally healthy over the longer term, given the increasing difficulty and capital-intensity of required technology transitions and greater diversity in DRAM applications, Bhatia said.
The Boise, Idaho-based chipmaker expects worldwide DRAM supply to grow about 20 percent next year and plans to match that pace with production growth.
The company said it plans to spend about US$10.5 billion on new manufacturing in fiscal 2019, which started last month, up from US$8.2 billion in the past fiscal year.
It would focus on technological transition, while maintaining existing wafer capacity, the chipmaker said.
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