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  • Taiwan to Play Role in Copper Interconnect, SEMI Pres. Says
  • November 12, 1998 (TAIPEI) -- Stanley Myers, president of SEMI, was interviewed by Asia BizTech's Taiwan correspondent Charlene Huang, after SEMI held the SEMICON Taiwan '98 in Taipei from Nov. 4 through Nov. 6.
    SEMI is a global organization of semiconductor equipment makers and suppliers of related services and materials. It has 2,300 corporate members worldwide and 700 individual associate members.

    Asia BizTech: Why did SEMI hold a SEMICON show in Taiwan?

    Myers: Taiwan represents a major expansion area for the semiconductor industry. Members of the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA), such as TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), Winbond Electronics Corp., UMC (United Microelectronics Corp.) and others, are emerging into this model of foundry work which I think will be a major change in the way we do business in the future.

    SEMI's job is to create value for our members, add value to what they do. We help them succeed in the market. These major device producers are consumers of the products, services and materials that our members offer. So it would only make sense that we come to the top three business areas -- the United States, Japan and Taiwan -- and hold shows.

    We saw this potential three years ago and this is the third year of the show. Taiwan has good elements of support and an excellent infrastructure that it is building. We're going to establish a local advisory board as well. We just think it's an excellent opportunity for our members.

    Asia BizTech: Please elaborate on the advisory board.

    Myers: We start such an advisory board in all major regions in the world. We have a SEMI Global Board of Directors consisting of myself and 19 others: five from Japan, one from Korea, three from Europe, and the rest from the United States.

    We'd like to get close to customers and their needs in any given region. The responsibility of a local advisory board is to provide input to SEMI's global and national boards. It's important for us to get input and feedback from them about directions and future requirements. We've had advisory boards in Korea, Japan, Europe and the United States. Now we are beginning to establish an advisory board here.

    Asia BizTech: Do you see signs of recovery in the semiconductor industry?

    Myers: There are certainly signs of recovery in the device making, semiconductor-producing arena. We don't know if these signs of recovery are seasonal, related to the Christmas season, or a true increase in demand. We probably won't know that until the first quarter of next year. Signs are present of a pick-up in wafer starts and in certain selected areas.

    Asia BizTech: Regarding the new trend of copper interconnect, will Taiwan play a major role?

    Myers: Taiwan will play a major role in copper interconnect. There is no doubt in my mind that Taiwan has a state-of-the-art approach both in reducing costs and in technology. To remain at a state-of-the-art level, they have to play a role in technical development.

    Asia BizTech: Do you see Taiwan getting advantages in moving ahead in frontier areas?

    Myers: Taiwan certainly has advantages in foundry operations, in production. They (local chip makers) have established and refined the model of foundry activities. I think, Taiwan will play a critical role there in the global industry.

    Asia BizTech: What are the prospects for 300mm equipment?

    Myers: As far as I know, 300mm will continue to be delayed as long as device producers are successful with critical dimensional shrinking, the so called "line-width shrinking," where they can improve the productivity, throughput and capacity of the current 200mm equipment.

    There will be a need for a larger diameter wafer in the future. If the delay to 300mm fabs lasts too long, then there is a potential of a different diameter than 300mm. It depends on how long the delay is, of course. That can be a very big negative to our members who have put in so much time, money and resources in developing the alpha and beta equipment for 300mm.

    But, the real risk of a long delay in device producers installing 300mm capacity is that a new diameter could come on the horizon.

    Related story: Semicon Taiwan '98 Exhibition Begins in Taipei

    (Charlene Huang, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Wed Nov 11 17:02:10 1998 PDT