TOKYO--A brisk market for digital consumer products has prompted Japanese semiconductor manufacturers to curtail their New Year's holidays.
Most Japanese companies had planned to close from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, creating a nine-day holiday when counting the weekends. Some semiconductor fabs, however, will resume non-stop operation while others reduce holiday schedules to meet strong demand.
Toshiba's Yokkaichi memory fab will operate without a break during the New Year's holidays to cope with swelling demand for memory chips, especially NAND flash memories. Its Oita fab, the production base for core chips for Play Station 2 and digital consumer products, will operate on seven of the planned nine holidays.
NEC Electronics Corp. said it would stop production only one day at two fabs and two days at one fab, a shorter break than last year. "Mobile phones, digital consumers and LCD drivers for large-sized panels are quite brisk and most of all lines will operate in full swing during the new years holidays," said a spokesman of NEC Electronics.
Renesas Technology Corp. also said it planned to shorten its holiday break by about 20 percent from the original plan made at the beginning of this fiscal year.
"We don't want to stop the lines, but some maintenance and improvement of lines are mandatory for future operation," said a Renesas spokesman. Thus, its Saijo fab that makes system-on-chip LSIs and flash memories will close four days out of nine full holidays. Trecenti Technologies, its 300-mm fab, which is fabricating AND flash memory and microcontrollers for digital consumers, will also shorten its holidays.
Elpida Memory is also planning to stop its lines for two and a half days for maintenance.
Japan's semiconductor production hit the bottom in 2002 and is estimated to have recovered 8.3 percent this year. It is forecast to grow by 14.7 percent in 2004, according to the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association.