Taiwanese computer memory chipmakers Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體) and ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技) cleared the last hurdle to their plan to build wafer facilities in China after the government gave the green light on investment proposals totaling US$766 million yesterday.
The chipmakers aim to tap into the fast-growing demand in China for chips used in consumer products such as mobile phones by using a less advanced 0.25-micron processing technology as well as older equipment.
"We are eyeing China's vast consumer electronic market ... It will be profitable to make such chips using older technologies," ProMOS spokeswoman Jessie Peng (
ProMOS, the nation's third-largest computer memory chipmaker, plans to make chips for handsets, liquid-crystal-display (LCD) drivers and other devices at its Chinese plant, Peng said.
The Investment Commission yesterday approved the applications by the two memory chipmakers after officials from related agencies including the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council gave the long-awaited go-ahead last week.
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體), the world's biggest packaging service provider, also obtained approval for its US$60 million buyout plan for Shanghai-based chip packager Global Advanced Packaging Technology Ltd (威宇科技) yesterday.
ASE expected to complete the acquisition by the first quarter of next year.
ProMOS, which plans to invest US$365 million to build a factory in China, said it prioritized Chongqing, in Sichuan Province, as its prefered site, Peng said.
ProMOS will soon apply for clearance to export equipment to China, she said.
By contrast, Powerchip said it did not expect anything more as a result of its investment in China in the near term. The nation's biggest computer memory chipmaker plans to spend US$401 million to build a plant in China.
"We are still exploring which products can optimally be produced in China. We are still looking for a proper factory site," company spokesman Eric Tang (譚仲民) said.
Earlier this year, Powerchip said that it would not make standard computer memory chips -- or dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips -- because most chipmakers are now using cost-saving 90-nanometer processing technology rather than the less competitive 0.25-micron processing technology allowed by the government.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is the only Taiwanese company allowed to manufacture chips in China.
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