SAN DIEGO -- During a forecasting conference here, Mosel Vitelic Inc. officials disclosed the company is one step closer to moving ahead with an ambitious 300-mm wafer fab project in Canada. However, managers with the Taiwanese chip maker also indicated that the company would not look for a joint technology partner in the venture as previously thought.
For months, Mosel Vitelic has been in negotiations with the Canadian government regarding a proposal to build the 300-mm-wafer fab in the Quebec province (see Sept. 12 story). The Taiwan chip is seeking $336 million in cash incentives from the Canadian government, another estimated $235-to-$269 million in tax breaks from the Quebec provincial government as well as an equity investment by the Societe Generale de Financement.
The 300-mm fab project is a bit controversial--if not risky. Many industry analysts believe that Canada lacks the proper infrastructure to support such a massive project using 12-inch (300-mm) wafers. And some Canadian business leaders are opposed to government's move to subsidize the project.
But that's not stopping Mosel Vitelic, a supplier of DRAMs, flash memories, LCD drivers, and other ICs. Asked if the Taiwan chip maker has reached a final agreement with the Canadian government, Rajit Shah, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for the Hsinchu-based company, said, "We're still working on it, but we're close."
In an interview at the "Dataquest Semiconductors 2000" conference in San Diego this week, Shah said Mosel Vitelic would shortly make an official announcement about the fab project in Canada, but he would not elaborate.
And contrary to popular belief, the company is not seeking a joint technology partner for the fab, he said. "We will use our own technology," he added.
Shah said it critical for Mosel Vitelic to expand its manufacturing base beyond Taiwan. At present, the company has one 6-inch fab in Hsinchu, but it is planning to build an additional 300-mm plant in the southern Taiwan city of Tainan.
The company also has joint DRAM venture with Infineon Technologies AG, the former semiconductor arm of Siemens AG in Munich. Called ProMos Technologies Inc., the joint venture makes 64-Mbit DRAMs in an 8-inch fab in Hsinchu. ProMos is also building a 300-mm fab in Hsinchu as well.