WASHINGTON -- Infineon Technologies AG's first 300-mm wafer production fab will be an expansion of the ProMOS joint venture fab in Taiwan with Mosel-Vitelic, an official of the Taiwanese chip maker confirmed today.
Mohammed Iqbal, Mosel-Vitelic's worldwide strategic marketing director for memory, based in San Jose, said ground will be broken shortly for a second stage of the present ProMOS fab, which will start as a pilot production line in 2001 and move into full production in 2002. An Infineon spokeswoman, reached in Munich, said only that the German chip firm will build a 300-mm production facility adjoining an existing fab and with a partner. She said Infineon hasn't yet announced the site or partner.
Industry sources said the ProMOS expansion into a 300-mm fab benefits both partners. Infineon has the manufacturing technology, gained from its mature 300-mm pilot line in another partnership with Motorola Inc.'s Semiconductor Products Sector. Mosel-Vitel needs this technology and has ready capital available to fund the high-cost 300-mm facility.
Mosel-Vitelic's Iqbal also confirmed persistent industry reports that the Taiwanese firm is also talking with Canadian authorities for assistance in building another 300-mm fab near Vancouver, B.C. He said those talks are still ongoing.
The ProMOS 300-mm joint venture comes in the wake of Samsung Electronics Co.'s decision to build a larger wafer-size fab, called Line 11, in Korea. The moves by these major DRAM producers are expected to spur Hyundai MicroElectronics to launch its own 300-mm fab, and for Micron Technology Inc.to start equipping its fab shell in Lehi, Utah, as a 300-mm facility.
That leaves the new NEC Hitachi Memory Inc. joint venture in Japan to take its next step into 300-mm. Hitachi has announced a 300-mm joint fab venture with UMC Group in Taiwan, but that is expected to be used for logic devices. NEC has long said it plans 300-mm fabs in Japan and in an expansion at its Roseville, Calif., site. Last December, NEC said its first 300-mm fab to produce DRAMs for its new memory joint venture might be located in Roseville.