Size matters to every foundry's business. Digital CMOS process fab businesses live or die by their ability to deliver finer geometry and larger wafers and not play chicken when it's time for massive capital expenditures.
For analog/mixed-signal foundries, however, what matters more is the ability to select the right product mix from a vast array of applications and develop the necessary process technology in a timely fashion.
When asked how Dongbu is trying to differentiate itself from other specialty foundries, Choi said, "There are so many different applications specialty foundries can address." Dongbu can set itself apart from its competitors by its focus and "higher-precision analog technology."
Dongbu's current process portfolio includes high-performance analog CMOS, BCDMOS (Bipolar/CMOS/DMOS), high-voltage CMOS, CMOS image sensors, and embedded flash. The company isn't doing MEMS yet, but the CEO noted, "I am interested in MEMS."
Dongbu's process technology roadmap.
(Source: Dongbu HiTek)
Integrated Device Technology Inc. (IDT), which is staking its future on new dual-mode wireless charging ICs, has added Dongbu as one of its foundry partners. Arman Naghavi, vice president at IDT’s analog and power division, told us it chose Dongbu because of its capacity and capability. "We have a multi-level relationship with Dongbu. We like their fast turnaround, extra capacity, and their willingness to modify tools," he said. "They are first class."
Looking back on the 30 years he spent at Samsung, Choi said he was fortunate that he had opportunities to change his specialty and responsibilities at its semiconductor business every four years. "The breadth of technology, knowledge, and experience I gained at Samsung include SoC designs, memory and logic processes, and fab management."
When asked the most important lessons he brought from his previous employer to Dongbu, Choi said, "At Samsung, we made the objectives of the company very clear. And we made them simple." The company also "made a habit of making timely decisions. Even a wrong decision is better than no decision. Because once a decision is made, we always have the opportunity to come back and make it better."