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  • TSMC, UMC in Neck-to-Neck Competition
  • August 10, 1998 (TAIPEI) -- Though the usage of production lines in Taiwan's wafer foundry plants has been on the wane for five straight months, competition between the two top-notch wafer producers in Taiwan, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Co. Ltd. (UMC), is anything but idle.
    TSMC's monthly production of wafers is estimated at 150,000 units.

    And after its U.S. factory, WaferTech, begins production, the company expects to increase this figure to 160,000 units.

    Market analysts estimate that TSMC's total output of 8-in. wafers may have exceeded that of U.S.-based National Semiconductor Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., ranking the company fifth among the top wafer producers in the world.

    The company posted NT$10 billion (US$289 million) in post-tax profits in the first half of the year, following Intel to be the second-leading semiconductor company in the world in terms of earnings.

    UMC, on the other hand, is aggressively extending its operations by mergers, and now owns United Silicon Inc., United Integrated Circuits Corp. and United Semiconductor Corp., and it merged Holtek Microelectronics Inc. in 1997. All of these companies engage in the original equipment manufacturing of wafers.

    In addition, the company has also reinvested in Unipac Optoelectronics Corp., and has set up joint ventures with Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd. and Dupont (Taiwan) to engage in IC testing/packaging and masks.

    The conglomerate has invested NT$35 billion so far this year, and it is still seeking opportunities to expand output by hinging strategic alliance with overseas semiconductor plants.

    Both TSMC and UMC have predicted a recovery in demand for wafer foundry services in September.

    (Commercial Times, Taiwan)

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    Updated: Sun Aug 9 21:20:38 1998 PDT