SEOUL, South Korea Hynix-ST Semiconductor Ltd. a joint memory venture between Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and STMicroelectronics Inc. is slated to open and launch its 300-mm fab in China on Oct. 10, according to the Korean company.
Established in 2004 as a joint venture between Hynix and STMicroelectronics, Hynix-ST Semiconductor, based in Wuxi, China, produces memory chips on 200-mm diameter wafers. In August, Hynix said it planned to raise $750 million in investment funds for the venture.
When the venture was originally established, the companies said a line for 300-mm diameter wafers was due to begin production in late 2006.
It appears the venture is on track. Hynix-ST Semiconductor will process 18,000 300-mm wafers per month by the end of this year, for both DRAM and NAND flash memories, a Hynix spokesman said.
The total investment for the Wuxi fabs are said to be over $2 billion, financed with the equity split between Hynix (Seoul) and STMicroelectronics (Geneva) at 67 percent and 33 percent, respectively. A line for 200-mm diameter wafers at the fab, with a monthly production capacity of 50,000 units, already began mass production from July, the Hynix spokesman said.
The timing of the fab opening is questionable, however. China's market for new fabs and semiconductor equipment is falling short of expectations for sizzling long-term growth, as companies juggle their need for profitability.
Meanwhile, with little or no fanfare, Hynix is also expanding in the United States as well. Recently, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski praised Hynix' expected decision to invest $250 million in the company's fab in the state.
Hynix also opened a 300-mm R&D fab line in Korea.
STMicroelectronics also made big headlines this week. Europe's largest chip maker, STMicroelectronics, could be the next target of private equity following the leveraged buyout of Philips Electronics' chip unit and the pending acquisition by a private equity consortium of Freescale Semiconductor Inc., according to a report.