Taiwanese foundry United Microelectronics will start shipments of its 14nm FinFET in the first quarter of 2017, according to the company CEO.
Speaking on a conference call, Mr. Po-Wen Yen, CEO of UMC, said that the company has recently made "substantial progress" for the 14nm node. UMC's 14nm transistor performance has
delivered speed and leakage results which are comparable with the industry's 14nm standards, while the company's yields "have fulfilled customer requirements", he added. The company anticipates 14nm wafer shipments to commence in 1Q17.
In the call Yen also said that initial 14nm manufacturing capacity would be 2,000 wafers per month and that UMC has numerous customers running test chips.
In April 2016 UMC was talking about commercial production in the second half of 2017. In October 2016 UMC reportedly discussed moving the process to volume production in 2Q17 with Bitcoin mining company BitFury set to be the first customer.
In the quarter UMC opened its 300mm wafer fab in Xiamen, China - Fab12X - and started shipping 40nm wafers. The company plans a 2017 capital expenditure of $2 billion, about 20 percent of the 2017 capex of leading foundry TSMC.
UMC said that the 28nm revenue contribution increased to 22% in 4Q16, reflecting stable wafer demand. 40nm accounted for 26% of sales as the wafer revenue from 28nm and 40nm remained at 48%.
Overall capacity utilization reached 94%, bringing wafer shipments to 1.66 million 8-inch equivalent wafers. During the quarter, UMC's 28nm and 40nm utilization rate continued to exceed 90%, while strength in 8" consumer and communication demand raised 8" fab utilization to nearly 100%.