A transaction of this magnitude is rare for a big contract chipmaker, but difficult times necessitate desperate measures. The current global chip crisis, exacerbated in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, has compelled a rethink in several markets, and this is only one illustration of one company’s solution to keep the wheels turning.
United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), one of the world’s largest contract chipmakers, has announced plans to increase production at its Tainan, Taiwan-based 300mm Fab 12A plant.
UMC stated that it has reached an agreement with some of its key customers to insure long-term chip supply in exchange for upfront deposits and pre-set pricing. The program’s sixth phase will be outfitted with mature 28nm tools that can later be switched out with 14nm gear to accommodate potential roadmaps.
Fab 12A currently produces approximately 90,000 300mm wafers per month (wpm). This year, an extra 10,000 wpm will be added, and phase six will add another 27,500 wpm to the mix.
UMC has stated that it expects to recruit an extra 1,000 people to assist with the campaign. The overall cost of the P6 extension is estimated to be NT$100 billion (approximately $3.6 billion).
TSMC, the world’s largest chipmaker, announced earlier this month that it will spend more than $100 billion over the next three years to increase production capabilities and R&D activities.