Elpida Memory set to expand

Elpida Memory has announced its intention invest 160 billion yen ($1.45 billion) in the construction of a 300mm wafer fabrication plant on the grounds of NEC Hiroshima. Japanese electronics firms NEC and Hitachi have said they will invest 20 billion yen in the project, expanding an existing venture to boost competitiveness.

The firms agreed last year to join forces in DRAM design and marketing to speed up development of next-generation chips and to cut costs.

Construction of the new facility will begin from January 2001 and volume production of 256-megabit dynamic random access memory (DRAM) devices in a 0.13-micron process is expected to begin from the first half of 2002.

Maximum capacity will eventually reach 20,000 wafers per month, the equivalent of 48,000 wafers at the conventional 200mm diameter and the new plant will have a total floor space of 22,000 square meters and a clean room floor space of 17,700 square meters.

Kenji Tokuyama, president of Elpida, which held a 13.6 percent share of the global DRAM market last year said the company would need its own facilities to grab a larger market share.

The new facility will be Elpida’s first, expanding the company’s ability to supply the market, and is said to complement its existing production system based chiefly on support from NEC Hiroshima and Hitachi Nippon Steel Semiconductor Singapore in Singapore.

Elpida was established in December 1999 as a joint venture DRAM company between NEC and Hitachi, bringing together the engineering skills of both companies at Elpida’s Development and Device Centre in Sagamihara, western Tokyo.

Combining NEC and Hitachi’s DRAM marketing operations, Elpida will begin its own sales operations from early 2001 including existing products from the two partners and Elpida’s own newly developed products.

Elpida will have fully integrated development, sales and manufacturing capabilities, as Japan’s only dedicated DRAM manufacturer. The addition of its own production capabilities is expected to promote its competitiveness among the world’s DRAM manufacturers and further add to customer confidence.