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  • Singapore IC Makers to Boost Output With U.S. Tech
  • February 25, 1998 (SINGAPORE) -- Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte. Ltd. (CSM), Flextech Holdings Ltd. and other companies are seeking more growth opportunities in the microchip sector despite the worldwide sluggishness in that market.
    CSM recently announced that it will set up a US$1 billion wafer fabrication plant with Lucent Technologies Microelectronics Pte. Ltd. Also, CSM announced a major deal with Fairchild Semiconductor to make EEPROMs at its Singapore facility.

    The venture with Lucent, called Silicon Manufacturing Partners Pte. Ltd., will employ about 800 people to fabricate a range of integrated circuits using process technology developed by Lucent's Bell Laboratories and CSM.

    The wafers will be used by Lucent's global customer base in products like computing equipment, cellular phones and other electronic devices, and CSM will use its portion of the capacity to support its customers around the world.

    Lucent will own 51 percent of the joint venture and CSM will own the rest. They will share the facility's production, which is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 1998.

    CSM president Tan Bock Seng said the venture will initially produce 8-inch wafers using 0.25-micron technology. At full capacity, the facility will produce 26,000 units of 8-inch wafers a month. The venture expects to migrate to 0.18-micron processing technology by 2000, he said.

    John Dickson, president of Lucent's Microelectronics Group, said the venture is important because of the rising presence of the company's business in Asia. Lucent obtained about a third of its semiconductor revenues from the Asia-Pacific region in 1997, he said.

    Executives said that a key benefit of the venture is that by building on complementary core competencies in process development and wafer manufacturing technologies, high-performance ICs can be delivered quickly to the market.

    CSM also has inked a deal with Fairchild, which is transferring some of its EEPROM technology to the Singapore company. The Singapore-based company has already conducted pilot runs for the new chips, resulting in high yields, a CSM official said.

    Jerry Baker, executive vice president of Fairchild, said the deal with CSM is the second such agreement with a wafer foundry and is aimed at generating adequate production capacity to meet growing demand. He said the CSM deal will augment output at a facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Publicly listed Flextech announced that it is regrouping its semiconductor businesses under the new unit, STI Holdings Ltd.

    "The new unit will engage in R&D; on advanced technology related to vision inspection, tape and reel, and laser marketing equipment," said Flextech CEO Joseph Au.

    "We also will develop advanced 2D/3D visual inspection equipment, and plans are underway to develop wafer inspection equipment," he said.

    Flextech has deals with Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Lucent Technologies and SGS-Thomson.

    (Joseph Rajendran, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Tue Feb 24 16:26:15 1998