TSMC Poised to Build One More Mega Fab

Dec 10, 2010 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken Liu, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 10, 2010 (CENS)--Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) plans to build one more “mega fab,” which is generally defined as a chip factory capable of turning out at least 100,000 300mm wafers a month, at a cost of up to NT$300 billion (US$10 billion at US$1:NT$30).

The company, currently the world's No.1 pure silicon foundry, debuted the latest mega-fab project at a recent conference after announcing three similar projects over the past few months.

These “jumbo” factories are announced amid the firm's lingering capacity shortage and its optimism about the firm's 2011 business prospects for semiconductor devices.

The four factories are projected to turn out more than 600,000 wafers combined a month, around 1.5 times the company's current output at all its 300mm fabs.

Construction of the fourth giga fab, codenamed Fab 16, will start in 2014 probably in the Central Taiwan Science Park. It is the company's second factory to offer 28nm process technology.

The fifth-phase construction of the company's first such factory has begun pilot production tin the fourth quarter of 2010 at Hsinchu Science Park and the fourth-phase construction of its second jumbo factory will enter into volume production in the first quarter of 2011. The third one, which is scheduled to start pilot run in early 2012, began its first-phase construction on Dec. 9, 2010 at the Central Taiwan Science Park.

Industry executives estimated the enormous factories will help pull TSMC far ahead of Samsung and Globalfoundries in silicon-foundry competition.