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Sat, Mar 09, 2002 - Page 18 News List

Taiwan to become leading 12-inch wafer maker, says Powerchip boss


Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體) Chairman Frank Huang (黃崇仁) said Friday that Taiwan will become the world's leading 12-inch chipmaker and that his company will increase investment in the domestic high-tech industry in the coming years.

Huang made the remarks during a speech to welcome a visit by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who traveled to Hsinchu yesterday to gain an understanding of the water shortage problem troubling the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park (新竹科學園區), stronghold of the nation's high-tech firms in northern Taiwan.

Claiming that Taiwan was never the strongest in the world in terms of eight-inch wafer technology, Huang said he strongly believes that Taiwan will become the globe's top 12-inch wafer maker. He added that Powerchip's second wafer plant in the Hsinchu science park -- a 12-inch wafer factory in cooperation with Japan's Mitsubishi Corp -- is slated to enter mass production in October and will be the world's most competitive. "The 12-inch wafer plant will be the world's fourth and the one with the largest production capability," he said.

Powerchip is expected to turn a profit this year following a year of recession, he added.

Powerchip President Michael Tsai (蔡國智) elaborated that the company has plans to set up another 12-inch wafer plant in five years, with an estimated investment of NT$100 billion (US$2.85 billion). Powerchip already owns one eight-inch wafer plant in the Hsinchu science park..

The highest technology in use today is found in 12-inch wafer plants using 0.13-micron processing technology. Larger wafer sizes allow manufacturers to squeeze on more chips to save costs. Lin said the ban on Taiwan companies setting up 12-inch wafer facilities on the mainland will remain.

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