Semiconductor firm UMC to build new $6.8 billion wafer fab facility in Singapore

The new wafer fab will have a monthly capacity of 30,000 wafers, with production expected to start in late 2024. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Taiwanese global semiconductor foundry United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) said on Thursday (Feb 24) that it plans to build a new advanced manufacturing facility in Singapore.

The new facility will be built next to its existing plant, known as Fab12i, in Pasir Ris.

The planned investment for this project will be US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion).

The new wafer fab facility will have a monthly capacity of 30,000 wafers, with production expected to start in late 2024.

It will also be one of the most advanced semiconductor foundries in Singapore, UMC said, and will produce 22 and 28 nanometre chips.

Said the company in its press release: "UMC has operated as a pure-play foundry supplier in Singapore for more than 20 years and the location is also the company's designated research and development centre for advanced speciality technologies."

To account for the fab expansion, the company's 2022 capital expenditure budget will be revised upward to US$3.6 billion, it added.

"The new fab is backed by customers who have signed multi-year supply agreements in order to secure capacity from 2024 and beyond, which points to robust demand outlook for UMC's 22/28nm technologies for years to come, driven by 5G, Internet of Things, and automotive mega-trends," UMC said.

It added that speciality technologies to be manufactured in the new facility, such as embedded high voltage and non-volatile memory, are critical for a broad range of applications ranging from smartphones and smart home devices to emerging electric vehicle applications.

"The company expects the new fab will play an important role in satisfying growing demand in these markets and help alleviate the structural shortage of foundry capacity, especially on 22/28nm processes," it said.

UMC chairman Stan Hung said: "Over the past two decades, UMC has benefited from Singapore's vision to attract high tech firms through strong infrastructure, ecosystem, and talent pool."

The Singapore fab is UMC's flagship innovation hub. New research and development projects in collaboration with customers will also enter production when the new facility comes online, he said.

"The semiconductor under-supply has crystallised the need for greater visibility and mutual risk mitigation within the industry. This investment is the result of the shared vision and close collaborations with our key customers. We are committed to doing our part to restore balance in the industry value chain and to the long-term success of our customers," he added.

Dr Beh Swan Gin, Singapore Economic Development Board chairman, said: "UMC plays an important role in Singapore's semiconductor manufacturing sector.

"We strongly welcome and are pleased to support UMC in the expansion of its wafer fabrication and research and development operations in Singapore. This is in line with Singapore's vision to further grow and deepen Singapore's role in the global supply chain for semiconductors."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.