Powerchip Technology Corp’s (力晶科技) new 12-inch wafer plant in China is set to start mass production by the end of this year as the company prepares for a potential relisting on Taiwan’s stock market, a senior executive said yesterday.
The plant in Hefei, Anhui Province, is operated by Nexchip Semiconductor Corp (合晶集成), a joint venture between Powerchip and the Hefei City Government.
The 12.8 billion yuan plant (US$1.89 billion) will help ease Powerchip’s capacity constraints and play a major role in its capacity allocation plan, Powerchip Group (力晶集團) chairman Frank Huang (黃崇仁) told Unique Satellite TV yesterday.
“Powerchip has an installed capacity of 100,000 a month [in Taiwan], but is still facing a severe capacity problem,” he said.
Hsinchu-based Powerchip, primarily a maker of driver ICs for LCD panels, plans to boost the Hefei plant’s monthly capacity to 10,000 wafers by the second quarter of next year after producing a first batch of chips by the end of this year.
The ultimate goal is to boost the monthly capacity to 40,000 wafers in 2019 and to 80,000 wafers in 2020, the company said.
The Hefei plant would also help Powerchip make room for Nor flash memory production, Huang said.
The company last week said it planned to return to the NOR flash memory sector to take advantage of the strong market demand.
The Hefei plant would be a major manufacturing site for driver ICs, while Taiwanese production lines would be used to make NOR flash chips, Huang said.
He expects severe supply constraints of NOR flash memory chips to extend into the second half and even into next year as global major chipmakers have exited the market.
Powerchip, originally a major Taiwanese DRAM chip suppler, has transformed itself into a foundry service provider focused on making driver ICs, image sensors and power management chips, as well as DRAM chips.
Net profit last year was NT$6.41 billion (US$211.1 million), or NT$2.97 per share, marking a fourth straight profitable year.
Powerchip shares were delisted from the Taipei Stock Exchange in 2012 as the company ran into financial trouble following a slump in the DRAM industry.
Huang said the company is preparing for a comeback and wants to get its share back on the local stock market in the near future.
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