NETANYA, Israel Pure play fab Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel) is currently in talks with SemIndia Inc. and Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC), two leading proponents of Indian chip manufacturing. Talks center on the two companies also making use of Tower's manufacturing capability.
Infineon Technologies AG (Munich, Germany) signed a memorandum of understanding with startup HSMC for a technology partnership in March 2007, with Infineon licensing its 130-nm CMOS process technology to HSMC
Rafi Nave, Tower's chief technology officer, told EE Times that "Tower brings to the cooperation with the Indian companies an offering which includes special areas such as CMOS sensors, which can be found in mobile phones, alongside automotive and medical applications. Other expertise we have is in radio frequency, where we have simulation and process capabilities and intellectual property for areas such as RFID."
SemIndia (New Delhi, India), has been formed by expatriate Indians in California to work with the Indian government, state governments, and other strategic partners and customers to create a wafer fab in India. SemIndia is planning to build a fab in Hyderabad or in Bangalore.
HSMC's first fab is expected to be designed to use 200-mm diameter wafers. This site will require investments of approximately $1 billion. In addition, HSMC plans to erect a second fab, intended to process 300-mm diameter wafers, which will require another $3.2 to $3.5 billions of investment. First products from HSMC are expected to roll within two years.
According to Hagay Dvir, vice president of business development at Tower, "the Indian government has recently boosted its support for companies and investors. HSMC is actually an investment organization, which draws a significant part of its knowledge and capital from Indians who live outside of India." Dvir added: "our next breakthrough will be based on unique technologies and customization, and will take advantage of the fact that IDMs [independent device manufacturers] are outsourcing their knowledge and technologies."
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