Shanghai, China Taiwan approved applications by two major chip players, Powerchip Semiconductor and ProMOS Technologies, to invest in 200-mm wafer fabs in China. In addition, the government will allow packaging and testing company Advanced Semiconductor Engineering to open factories.
The government also will allow Taiwanese companies to offer 0.18-micron chip manufacturing technology in China. The previous limit was 0.25 micron.
ProMOS said it is planning to invest $360 million to open its first China fab, but more details were not available. Details were also sketchy about Powerchip's plans. But it has said in the past that after waiting for more than two years for approval, it's no longer certain of when it will invest in China.
The approvals will also be a boost to foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which currently operates a fab in China. More and more of its China clients are interested in 0.18 micron, which is a mainstream node for Chinese companies.
It will also help it battle China's most advanced foundry, Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, on its own turf. SMIC is already mass producing 90 nanometer technology and researching the 65 nanometer node.