Philips Semiconductors today said it has partnered with Taiwan's largest silicon wafer foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and Singapore's industrial development agency to build a 200mm wafer fab in Singapore.
The planned facility, costing a projected $1.2 billion, will be jointly operated by Philips and TSMC, with Philips slated to receive 60% of the production output. At capacity, the fab is expected to produce 30,000 200mm wafers per month.
The project is being unveiled at a time when a weak semiconductor market is prompting other chip makers to close fabs, halt production or pull out of fab joint ventures.
Philips said it will use the plant to build TriMedia processors and other devices for digital consumer applications. By the time the facility becomes operational in late 2000, the market for logic chips will be strong, Philips said.
The decision to build in Singapore came after a long search process, during which Philips also considered sites in the U.K.
"Philips is a company with a global market presence; now we want to spread our investments globally," said Stuart McIntosh, chief operating officer for Philips Semiconductors.
While the fab marks Philips' first venture onto Asian soil, the region currently accounts for approximately 40% of the company's chip sales. Today, as much as 75% of Philips' wafer production is in Europe, 10% is in the U.S., and 15% is subcontracted, the company said.
Singapore's government has aggressively sought inward investment by international electronics firms, offering financial backing, an attractive tax structure and an established high-tech infrastructure. The country is home to the third-largest independent wafer foundry, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing.