If not pure-play foundries,
MEMS manufacturers could be among the candidates looking at old fabs in
Japan. Itow said, “MEMS manufactures are beginning to take advantage of
larger wafer sizes, i.e. moving from 6” wafers to 8” wafers.”
One good example is Kionix who is a MEMS company and already owns a fab in Japan.
MEMS companies could move from fabless to fab-lite, Itow pointed out.
Alpha Omega Semiconductor is an example that changed strategy from
fabless to fab-lite. The company specializes in discrete/power IC
products and until last year primarily used HHNEC. “In 2011, Alpha
Omega purchased a 16-year-old fab in Oregon from IDT. They are now
classified as a fab-lite company,” she added.
As for Fujitsu Semiconductor, the company completed the transfer of its
Iwate Plant to Denso Corp. last fall. Fujitsu’s assembly lines in Aizu,
Miyagi and Kyushu were transferred to J-Devices Corp. last December.
Fujitsu’s 300mm wafer lines in Mie remain unsold, currently in
“deliberation on transfer to a new foundry company, including TSMC,”
according to Fujitsu.
Renesas' fab locations as of 2011
Yellow circle: front-end wafer fabs
Purple triangle: backend assembly test plants
Meanwhile, Renesas, even after announcing production structural reforms,
will still have seven sites and nine lines left for its front-end
production; and two sites for back-end.
Renesas High Components, a back-end production site in Aomori, was
transferred to Aoi Electronics Co., Ltd. in January. Three other
back-end process sites – including Hakodate, Fukui and Kmamoto – are
being sold to J-Devices in early June.
While Renesas has not spelled out which sites – among those left – will
be targets for the “transfer, closure and streamlining” of its
production scales, the Japanese company said earlier this year that it
plans to reduce depreciation cost and lease fees for the fiscal year
ending March 2014 by approximately 25% from the fiscal year ending March
2013 and approximately 35% from the fiscal year ending March 2011.