US memorychip maker Micron Technology Inc yesterday said it plans to add about 2,000 employees to its Taiwanese operations within the next two to three years, as it seeks to ramp up some of the most advanced DRAM manufacturing technologies, including its 1-gamma nanometer node DRAM process in 2024.
The hiring would result in a 20 percent expansion of its Taiwan staff, which currently comprises about 10,000 workers.
The hiring drive would make Micron the largest foreign employer in Taiwan, corporate vice president and new head of Micron Taiwan Donghui Lu (盧東暉) told a news conference in Taichung.
Photo: Lisa Wang, Taipei Times.
Unveiling the company’s technology road map, Lu said one of his priorities is to accelerate tech deployment in Taiwan, including ramping up 1-beta nanometer node DRAM production by the end of this year and 1-gamma nanometer node DRAM in 2024.
The two processes would be the most advanced DRAM technologies when they enter mass production, Lu said.
To facilitate the 1-gamma nanometer node process, the chipmaker plans to create a “research and development corridor” and a research team dedicated for the technology at Micron’s new Taichung fab, A3, using extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) tools, Lu said.
Micron has started construction of A3 in 2019 and is installing manufacturing equipment in preparation for mass production.
Micron believes it is the right time to introduce EUV for the production of 1-gamma nanometer technology, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), Samsung Electronics Co and Intel Corp have adopted the tools over the past few years, leading to better equipment availability and a mature ecosystem, Lu said.
“That will allow us to have the best combination of cost, technology and performance,” Lu said.
Micron plans to adopt the EUV tools for the next three generations of DRAM processes including 1-gamma, 1-delta and 1-epilson technologies, to make a better return from the investment in EUV equipment, he said.
In addition, accelerating its pace in growing the local semiconductor industry, EUV supply chains is also one of Lu’s priorities by increasing adoption of local manufacturing equipment and materials, he said.
A comprehensive supply chain can help shorten production cycles and improve cost efficiency, especially as transportation costs skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
“Taiwan has built the most extensive EUV ecosystem. No other place in the world can compare,” he said.
Commenting on the industry’s recent weakness amid geopolitical tensions and the pandemic, Lu said it might see short-term supply-demand imbalance, but Micron is bullish about the industry’s long-term outlook, as accelerating digitalization worldwide is driving demand for memory chips.
Micron plans to focus on rapidly growing markets, including the automotive electronics, industrial devices and data centers, to deliver stable gross margin, Lu said.
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