Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. and Philips Semiconductors said this week that their $1.2 billion joint wafer plant in Singapore has yielded first silicon.
The joint venture, called Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Co. (SSMC), is running silicon 15 months after construction of the fab started, according to a statement from the companies.
"SSMC is a strategically important manufacturing facility to both TSMC and Philips for the next several years," said Rick Tsai, an executive vice president at TSMC, Hsinchu, Taiwan. "With customers demanding more capacity than the foundry industry can currently provide, this facility is in an excellent position to play a major role in the IC industry going forward."
TSMC and Royal Philips Electronics NV, the parent company of Philips Semiconductors, have been bullish about the prospects of the semiconductor industry. Earlier this month, TSMC said it would sell preferred shares worth $420 million to Philips Electronics as a condition for renewing a technology cross-licensing agreement between the companies.
Still, there are growing concerns in the foundry market following Intel Corp.'s warning last week that its third-quarter sales would fall short of targets.
Following the warning, the American depository receipts (ADR) of TSMC and Hsinchu-based rival United Microelectronics Corp. fell sharply on the New York Stock Exchange.
SSMC, which is based in Pasir Ris Wafer Fab Park, Singapore, is expected to reach a maximum output of 30,000 wafers per month in June 2002, while its work force expands 72% to 1,050 employees during the same period, the statement said. The initial process technologies are 0.25 micron and 0.18 micron.
Some 200 or more tools have been delivered, installed, and commissioned in the last 90 days, according to the companies.
SSMC is 48% owned by Philips Semiconductors, 32% by TSMC and 20% by the Economic Development Board Investments of Singapore.