United Microelectronics Corporation ("UMC"), today announced that the company has established Fab 12i in Singapore as its "Center of Excellence" to spearhead the company's R&D and manufacturing for advanced specialty process technologies.
The Centre of Excellence was set up with an initial investment of US$110 million, and will undertake R&D collaborations with local research institutes such as Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics. Technologies being developed include CMOS image sensor backside illumination, embedded memory, high voltage applications and TSV (through silicon via) connections. Such specialty processes will enable new products with stronger capabilities in growing markets such as automotive, mobile, smartphone and tablet to help customers offer products which benefit from the increasing connectivity of everyday devices. In 2013, UMC plans to increase headcount of Fab 12i by over 80 engineers to focus on specialty process development.
W.Y. Chen, COO at UMC said, "We are excited to extend our manufacturing and R&D commitments in Singapore. Having a dedicated 300mm base for advanced specialty R&D and manufacturing will help ensure the timely delivery of these technologies, and enable UMC to tap into new market opportunities. Singapore was UMC's location of choice due to its strong close support, robust engineering talent base, and established semiconductor infrastructure. In addition, the strong semiconductor ecosystem in Singapore will introduce opportunities for local joint venture partnerships in the future."
Mr. Terence Gan, Director of Electronics, Singapore Economic Development Board, said, "We are delighted that UMC, one of the world's top wafer foundries, has chosen Singapore to carry out R&D activities for its specialty manufacturing processes. This centre strengthens R&D capabilities in complex manufacturing processes and adds to the base of higher value-added products that the Singapore electronics industry produces. UMC's continued investment in Singapore reflects confidence in Singapore's network of R&D institutes and availability of skilled talent, to support the company in developing proprietary manufacturing processes for tomorrow’s advanced electronics products."
UMC's Fab 12i is UMC's only 300mm fab outside of Taiwan. The facility produces a variety of customer products spanning all major sectors of the IC industry. The current capacity is nearly 45,000 wafers per month, accounting for 45% of UMC's total 12" output. Recent achievements in specialty technologies at Fab 12i include the successful development of backside illuminated CMOS image sensors and 55nm high performance eFlash cells for different UMC customers. Total cumulative investment for Fab 12i is nearly US$3.6 billion to date. The fab currently employs nearly 1,600 people.