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ProMOS eyes fab in China

Posted: 24 Jan 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CMOS  image sensor  flash  fab  ProMOS Technologies 

Memory maker ProMOS Technologies intends to operate a government built-fab in central China, in another sign of the Chinese upping the ante to lure big chipmakers.

ProMOS said it will invest Rs.1,631.52 crore ($360 million) in the project, a 200mm wafer fab in the city of Chongqing that will produce CMOS image sensors, power management ICs and embedded flash. State-controlled banks will lend another Rs.1,631.52 crore ($360 million), while the Chongqing government will put up about Rs.9,06,400 crore ($200 million) to build the fab, and then lease it to ProMOS. If things go well, ProMOS will eventually buy the facility.

"It's a good incentive for us to build the fab there. You want to spend your money on equipment, not the shell, so that you can quickly ramp up the fab," said Ben Tseng, vice president of sales and marketing at ProMOS.

Tseng added that some local governments still remain aggressive in offering various perks and breaks to companies willing to build fabs in China. However, in more well established tech centres like Shanghai, the incentives are less alluring, he said.

For the Chongqing project, ProMOS said the clean room should be finished by the end of this year and mass production will begin in Q2 of 2008, with a planned capacity of 60,000 wafers per month. The company will buy new equipment for the first 20,000 wafers, and then transfer used equipment from a fab in Taiwan for the rest. Initially, ProMOS will use 0.25µ design rules and then migrate to more advanced technology as the fab reaches full capacity by 2009.

The company's plans follow the recent loosening of Taiwan government rules that control technology investment in China. Now that the way has been cleared, at least two companies, ProMOS and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), say they are ready to up the ante in China.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times

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