IC foundry UMC toes PV waters

Following a similar investment from domestic foundry rival TSMC, Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. (TSMC) is eyeing a new business venture into nonsemiconductor (and higher-return) markets like solar and LEDs.


August 27, 2009 –  Following a similar investment from domestic foundry rival TSMC, Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. (TSMC) is eyeing a new business venture into nonsemiconductor (and higher-return) markets like solar and LEDs.

The new unit, New Business Development Center, will be floated with a ~$45M investment, with the goal to establish “a preliminary scale of operations” in a “short-to-mid term” timeframe into solar and other areas — initially handing out funding based on internal “research and evaluation,” and later acquiring controlling stakes in those investments. Wen-yang Chen, who currently oversees the foundry’s 200mm and 150mm fabs, will lead the new unit.

For UMC’s LED push, the plan is to set aside ~20% of capacity in UMC’s 150mm fab to develop LED epitaxy wafers, and adding work for LED packaging and assembly at a site in China’s Shandong Province by year’s end, partially to support a recent contract with the city of Jining, reports the Taiwan Economic News.

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