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Thursday, May 17, 2012
UMC Accelerates 28nm Output Capacity To Meet Demand

Tight supply of TSMC's 28nm process has reportedly increased the tapeout orders for "rival" foundry United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), which plans to boost output capacity of its 28nm plants.

UMC has already received 80 28nm tapeouts, according to a Taiwan Economic News report.

UMC, the world's No.2 pure silicon foundry supplier, entered general production based on 28nm process technology in the first quarter, lagging behind No.1 player TSMC. However, tight supply of the process at TSMC has inspired 28nm process buyers to turn to UMC, GlobalFoundries and Samsung.

To keep up with the demand for 28nm process capacity, UMC has reportedly begun adjusting process-capacity portfolios to make room for 28nm process foundry. The foundry has also a new expansion plan in the works to boost output capacity at its Fab 12A in the Southern Taiwan Science Park. The expansion plan is estimated to add 50,000-60,000 wafers a month at the factory when it is completed.

TSMC will budget US$8-8.5 billion for expansion this year, with 28nm process capacity being the primary expansion item. Its Fab 15's first-phase project has entered volume production and is planned to rise output to 50,000 wafers of 28nm chips by the end of this year.

UMC is produsing 28nm chips for Texas Instruments (OMAP 5) and Qualcomm (integrated baseband chips).

TSMC has already announced additional US$8-8.5 billion investments for expansion this year. Its Fab 15's first-phase project has entered volume production and is planned to rise output to 50,000 wafers of 28nm chips by the end of this year.

TSMC's 28nm chips are used by Qualcomm, Broadcom, Nvidia and AMD, among others.

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