In a move to support the first 300mm wafer fab project in Singapore, the Singapore government said that it has taken a 15% stake in the $3.6 billion facility to be built by United Microelectronics Corp.
EDB Investments Pte Ltd., the investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board, is joining Infineon Technologies AG to become a shareholder of the fab, which is the biggest manufacturing investment in the island nation.
For years, Singapore has encouraged high-tech investments in the country to boost its economy and upgrade technology. There are now more than a dozen of wafer fabs in Singapore, including a 200mm wafer facility owned by Philips Semiconductor and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., UMC's closest rival.
"This strategic partnership will propel Singapore into the next phase of advanced semiconductor fabrication and help us to remain at the forefront of technology," Liow Voon Kheong, general manager of EDBI, said in a released statement. "The number and types of jobs to be created, extent of knowledge transfer, and the numerous other economic spin-offs from this venture will significantly add to the existing solid infrastructure" of the semiconductor projects in Singapore.
In Decmeber, Hsinchu-based UMC said that it has taken a majority stake in the 300mm wafer fab, while 30% goes to Infineon, Munich, Germany, a customer of UMC.
The wafer fab is among many of such projects that have been planned by global chipmakers. Facing the slowdown in the semiconductor industry, they are moving to the most advanced technology to increase output. UMC and TSMC -- which together dominate about two-thirds of the world's silicon foundry market -- have three such fabs, under construction or in production.
Groundbreaking for the wafer fab, located in Singapore's Pasir Ris Wafer Fab Park, is slated in two months with initial equipment move-in around the third quarter of next year. The fab's total capacity will reach 40,000 wafers a month.
The project will focus on making system-on-a-chip products based on 0.13- to 0.10-micron technologies, which have been jointly developed by UMC, Infineon and IBM Corp.