LESHAN, China -- On Semiconductor Inc.’s joint IC-assembly and test venture in China outlined its roadmap and expansion plans amid growing but choppy demand for the U.S. chip maker.
The Chinese venture, Leshan-Phoenix Semiconductor Co. Ltd., is expanding its efforts in miniature surface mount packages for smartphones and other products. This reportedly includes a new line of small packages for Apple Inc.’s iPhone, sources said.
The venture is also looking to move upstream and plans to produce more complex quad flat no-lead plastic packages (QFN). And amid strong demand, the venture is also in the process of expanding its Plant 3 facility.
The venture’s other two plants here are running at or near capacity, prompting the need for a new $30 million expansion effort in Plant 3, said B.S. Lee, general manager of Leshan-Phoenix Semiconductor, based in Leshan, China.
Leshan is a prefecture-level city in the southern part of the Sichuan Province. Leshan is about 120 kilometers from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Leshan also claims to be the site of the world's largest stone statue of Buddha, dubbed the Great Buddha at Leshan. The huge seated figure measures 71 meters from top to bottom, according to a travel site.
Formed in 1995, Leshan-Phoenix was originally a joint venture between Motorola Inc.’s former semiconductor unit and Leshan Radio Co., one of China’s largest discrete IC suppliers. The venture began production in 1996.
In 1999, Motorola spun off its discrete IC unit into an independent company called On Semiconductor. At that time, On Semi took control of the joint venture in China.
Today, On Semi owns 70 percent of Leshan-Phoenix, while Leshan has a 30 percent stake. The venture provides backend services for On Semi and Leshan. On Semi controls 70 percent of the output from the venture, while Leshan owns the remaining production.
Until 2002, Leshan-Phoenix was said to be the largest foreign investor in the Sichuan Province. Then, at about that time, Intel announced plans to build a huge backend facility in Chengdu. Intel, which opened the plant in 2005, is expanding and hiring within the plant.
Meanwhile, On Semi (Phoenix, Ariz.) also has backend facilities in Malaysia, the Philippines and other locations. But as time goes along, the Chinese venture has become one of the more successful plants in On Semi’s backend network.