To meet growing demand for its memory-IC products, chip maker Mosel-Vitelic is moving ahead with plans to build a 300-mm-wafer fab in Taiwan and is in talks to build a similar facility in Canada.
An executive at the company, which is based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, said Mosel-Vitelic is negotiating a subsidy agreement with the Canadian government that could result in construction of a 300-mm-wafer facility in Vancouver.
While the proposed Canadian facility is still under consideration, the company's joint venture with Germany's Infineon Technologies AG, known as ProMos Technologies Inc., will break ground shortly on a second phase of its existing fab, according to Mohammed Iqbal, worldwide strategic marketing director for memory at Mosel-Vitelic in San Jose.
The new 300-mm-wafer line, located in Hsinchu, will begin pilot production in 2001, with volume manufacturing to follow in 2002, according to Iqbal.
A spokeswoman for Infineon refused to confirm the joint-venture expansion, however, industry sources said the new ProMOS fab would benefit both partners. Infineon has the manufacturing technology, gained through a mature 300-mm-wafer pilot line partnership with Motorola Inc.'s Semiconductor Products Sector, while Mosel-Vitel has ready capital to finance the expensive project.
According to Iqbal, 300-mm-wafer plants have become a stronger priority as chip companies seek to guarantee future capacity. Indeed, construction of the ProMos fab comes as several leading DRAM manufacturers resurrect dormant plans to build or equip 300-mm-wafer lines.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., for example, is building a larger wafer facility in Kiheung, Korea, known as Line 11. Hyundai Electronics Industries Co. Ltd. is expected to follow suit, and Micron Technology Inc. is said to be close to equipping its fab shell in Lehi, Utah, as a 300-mm facility.
NEC Corp. has long said it plans to build 300-mm-wafer fabs in Japan and as part of an expansion at its Roseville, Calif., site. And Hitachi Ltd. earlier this year announced a 300-mm-wafer development deal with Taiwanese foundry United Microelectronics Corp. dedicated to the production of logic devices.
The DRAM partnership formed last year between Hiatchi and NEC has yet to indicate if it will build a 300-mm-wafer plant, although NEC late last year said the joint-venture company might avail itself of capacity at the Roseville facility once the expansion there is completed.