LONDON – Chip foundry United Microelectronics Corp. has been the leading beneficiary of 28-nm chip supply shortages at the leading foundry and rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., according to a Taiwan Economic News report.
UMC (Hsinchu, Taiwan), ranked as the second largest pure-play foundry firm, has 80 tape-outs for the 28-nm manufacturing node, the report said referencing un-named industry executives. UMC entered production in the first quarter of 2012 although this was with a conventional polysilicon/silicon oxynitride gate stack rather than the high K metal gate (HKMG) stack used by TSMC at 28-nm.
Inadequate volume to meet demand at TSMC has prompted comments from some of its customers and others, including Qualcomm, have said they are seeking capacity elsewhere.
Texas Instruments is making its OMAP 5 on 28-nm at UMC while Qualcomm has asked UMC to make integrated baseband chips, the report said. To cope with demand UMC is planning to increase manufacturing capacity at its Fab 12a wafer fab in southern Taiwan to add 50,000 to 60,000 wafer starts per month at the factory, the report added.
It begs the question, "Will UMC experience 'capacity issues' as they begin to ramp these design wins in a fashion similar to what TSMC saw?" Seems like perhaps UMC is spending more on 28nm now to address this potential issue in the same way TSMC upped their spend. Sure the processes are not all the same, but there will still be alot of similar issues.