NEC Electronics and Elpida Memory have agreed in principle to form a joint venture company in the field of display driver ICs.
NEC Electronics and Elpida have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enter into a joint-venture agreement by the end of September 2008, and incorporate a new company by the end of 2008. NEC Electronics will hold approximately 80% and Elpida will hold approximately 20% of the new company stakes. The new company will engage in the development, design, and sale of display driver ICs. NEC Electronics and Elpida have also agreed in principle that, in addition to manufacturing at NEC Electronics, the new joint venture will outsource its production to Elpida's Hiroshima Plant. The two firms will work out the details of the plan as they move forward.
Display driver ICs are utilized to drive LCD or plasma displays for televisions, computer monitors, and other products. They are embedded in the periphery of the display panel, driving the panel to display the picture on the screen based on input display data.
NEC Electronics has been active in this business since 1989, when it commercialized a driver IC for large LCD panels used in personal computers and the likes. Since then, its product offerings in this field have included a PDP driver IC, which was commercialized in 1996, and a driver IC for small LCD panels commonly used in mobile phones, which was commercialized in 1997. These efforts have made the company one of the world's top manufacturers of the field.
Meanwhile, Elpida has expanded its global presence since its establishment in December 1999 as Japan's only dedicated DRAM manufacturer. It has since grown to become the world's third-largest DRAM manufacturer, with sales of ?405.5 billion for the fiscal year ended March 2008. Elpida's Hiroshima Plant has one of the largest 300mm fabs in the world with a monthly capacity of approximately 120,000 wafers and boasts the industry's leading manufacturing technology.