SAN JOSE, Calif. - China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) has recently exited from one fab alliance, but it plans to change its strategy and invest in another fab venture.
Earlier this month, Texas Instruments Inc. purchased Cension Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in Chengdu, China. Previously, SMIC was only managing Cension for the Chengdu government.
SMIC has another fab alliance in China-dubbed Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., based in Wuhan. Until now, SMIC had only managed that 300-mm fab for the Wuhan government. It was reportedly not an investor in the fab.
At one time, there were rumors that SMIC wanted to exit that alliance and Micron Technology Inc. would buy the fab. Now, it appears that SMIC will remain involved with Wuhan Xinxin.
And now, SMIC (Shanghai) will invest in the venture. The Wuhan East Lake Hi-Tech Development Zone Administrative Committee and SMIC have signed a cooperation framework agreement under which both parties agreed to cooperate and jointly invest in the 300-mm fab through an undisclosed cash injection.
SMIC began its cooperation with Wuhan City in early 2006 when its government funded and constructed Wuhan Xinxin and engaged SMIC to manage it. Wuhan Xinxin commenced production in September 2008.
In the future, the venture will focus on 65-40 nm production with a goal of achieving a production capacity of 45,000 wafers per month. ''This cooperation will benefit both parties and serve as a strategic component in SMIC's expansion plan over the next five years,'' according to the entities.
Through this agreement, SMIC and Wuhan City will collaborate in areas such as talent development, chip design, and supply chain improvement, ''to promote the economic development of Wuhan's 'Optics Valley' and upgrade Hubei Province's information & technology industry.''
After a tumultuous period, Chinese foundry provider SMIC is back on track, according to the company’s top executive. David N.K. Wang, the new executive director, president and chief executive of SMIC, recently said the foundry vendor has moved to restore customer confidence, put more emphasis on becoming profitable and narrowed its technology focus.