Thu, Dec 13, 2018 - Page 12 News List

UMC approves budget to expand wafer capacity

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s third-largest contract chipmaker, yesterday said its board of directors has approved a preliminary capital spending budget of NT$27.41 billion (US$887.6 million) to boost 12-inch and 8-inch wafer capacities for next year.

“The outlay is mostly for expanding capacities via debottlenecking [in the manufacturing process] and adding automation to fabs in Taiwan, Singapore and Xiamen of China,” chief financial officer Liu Chi-tung (劉啟東) said by telephone.

“We aim to expand the capacity of a 12-inch Xiamen fab to reach economic scale, ” he said.

The chipmaker plans to allocate part of the fund to boost specialty technologies with die sizes of bigger than 40 nanometers at a 12-inch fab operated by United Semiconductor (Xiamen) Co (聯芯).

The Xiamen fab would see monthly capacity increase to 25,000 wafers, up 47 percent from 17,000 wafers, UMC said.

The fund would also be used to boost production at an 8-inch fab operated by Hejian Technology (Suzhou) Co Ltd (和艦科技) to 75,000 wafers per month from 65,000 wafers, Liu said.

“Demand for 8-inch wafers continues to surpass supply,” he added.

The company in October said it was at capacity this quarter, driven by robust demand for consumer electronics customers.

This year, UMC expects 8-inch wafer capacity to grow 2 percent year-on-year and to continue increasing next year.

The company plans to spend US$1.1 billion on new equipment, which is to add 5 percent to total wafer capacity this year compared with last year.

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