Jazz Semiconductor Inc. has signed a technology process licensing agreement with Shanghai foundry Hua Hong NEC. The aim is for HHNEC to begin prototyping 0.25- and 0.18-micron CMOS and silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS devices using the Jazz processes by the end of 2004, and develop a 0.13-micron process in 2005.
The agreement involves Jazz taking an equity stake for an undisclosed amount in HHNEC, a six-year-old joint venture between China's Hua Hong Group and Japan's NEC Corp. HHNEC expects the agreement with Jazz to help strengthen its foundry services for the Chinese market.
"Through this partnership with Jazz Semiconductor, HHNEC can further extend its exposure in the wireless communication sector and maintain its position as a leader in China's foundry industry," said Fang Peiqi, president of Hua Hong Group, in a statement.
Jazz, a pure-play foundry spun out of Conexant Systems Inc. in March 2002, specializes in RF and mixed-signal fabrication, using CMOS, BiCMOS, and SiGe BiCMOS processes. For high-volume customers in the cell phone industry, having a second source is critical, according to Jeff McHenry, director of marketing at Jazz.
In January, Jazz added Shanghai's Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. as a licensee and second source for Jazz's 0.35-micron SiGe process, currently the company's mainstream technology. That relationship will continue to be developed, the two said.
Jazz has capacity of about 21,000 wafers a month at its Newport Beach, Calif., fab, and the two Shanghai partners will match that amount, McHenry said. Jazz, which has 45 customers, expects revenue this year of $185 million, up from $160 million last year.
"Our expanded capacity now positions us to handle the aggressive growth forecasts made by participants in the wireless and analog market segments," said Shu Li, president and chief executive of Jazz, in a statement.
"The analog and RF designs on which we focus are at the heart of some of the leading technologies being deployed today, including consumer electronics, wireless communications, and personal computer applications," Li said.