Infineon and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), Shanghai, China, recently announced that they have signed an agreement to expand their co-operation on the production of standard memory chips (DRAMs).
Under the terms of the new agreement, Infineon will transfer its 0.11-um DRAM trench technology and 300mm-production expertise to SMIC. In return, SMIC will manufacture products in this technology exclusively for Infineon.
According to a statement, this new move will enable Infineon to increase its overall capacity by approximately 15,000 wafer starts per month through SMIC’s 300mm-production plant, which is currently being built in Beijing.
In December 2002, the two companies signed an agreement whereby SMIC would manufacture memory chips in its 200mm plant in Shanghai using Infineon’s 0.14-um DRAM trench technology for Infineon.
Following the ramp-up of SMIC’s Beijing facility, the addition of the 15,000 wafer starts per month in 300mm technology to the 20,000 wafer starts per month in 200mm will result in a total capacity of 58,000 wafer starts in 200mm wafer equivalents. First products from the new 300mm plant are expected for summer 2004.
‘Through the extension of our co-operation with SMIC we can grow our DRAM business without having to invest in production facilities,’ said Dr. Harald Eggers, Memory Products Group CEO at Infineon Technologies AG. ‘At the same time we are further strengthening our regional presence in the promising market of China and aiming overall at a leading market position in Asia/Pacific.’
This collaboration is intended to further consolidate Infineon’s position as the third largest semiconductor manufacturer in the DRAM market and establish the company as a leading provider in the growing Chinese market.
According to forecasts by market research firm Gartner Dataquest, the semiconductor market in China alone is set to grow from approximately $16 billion in 2002 to around $31 billion in 2006.