TOKYO --- For the sake of cost-efficiency Japanese chipmakers are considering outsourcing some of their manufacturing to the Trecenti Technologies Inc. subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. that operates Japan's only 300-mm wafer fab, industry and government officials were reported as saying on Friday (November 29, 2002) by Reuters.
Trecenti was started as a joint venture between Hitachi and United Microelectronics Corp. in March 2000 to jump start entry into 300-mm wafer production. However, amidst a sluggish market earlier this year the two companies discontinued the joint venture with Hitachi acquiring UMC's 40% share in Trecenti in April (see February 19 story).
Japan's vertically integrated electronics companies are striving to become more efficient through horizontal co-operation, and joint ventures such as Elpida Memory Inc. and Renesas Technology Corp. are being followed up with plans to collaborate on advanced process technology and production in 300-mm wafer fabs (see November 28 story).
"I've heard that the chipmakers are thinking about making use of Trecenti," an un-named official with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is reported as saying. "Although the decision will be up to them, I think this is desirable, since it would improve efficiency of investment."
The situation is made more complex because, while Trecenti might like to be a foundry manufacturer for Japan's other chip makers it is due to be absorbed into the Renesas joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi, the report said.