Elpida Memory Inc. Friday announced it will delay for nine months the start of equipping a planned 300mm wafer fab in Hiroshima, Japan.
The company, a DRAM joint venture of Hitachi Ltd. and NEC Corp., will continue to build the fab shell, but said the current poor market conditions forced a delay for initial production.
Originally Elpida planned to start equipping the fab this December. The schedule has now slipped to September, 2002. That will cause a similar nine-month delay in launching initial production, which now is expected to start in late 2003.
Other DRAM rivals, including Micron Technology, have slipped their projected 300mm fab timetables as well. Infineon Technologies, however, has already started to equip its new 300mm production fab in Dresden, Germany, and is likely to continue on schedule.
Equipping a fab crosses a point of no-return, as a chip maker then must start production as soon as possible to get revenue to pay back the several billion dollar investment cost of the fab.