Taiwan’s second-largest chip maker collaborates with auto parts giant to produce Japanese semiconductors


Taiwan’s second contract chipmaker after TSMC, UMC is working with Toyota-backed auto parts supplier Denso to make semiconductors in Japan and meet growing global demand in the automotive sector.

United Semiconductor Japan Co. (USJC), a Japanese subsidiary of UMC; presentation At the end of last month, it announced that it would sell a power chip production plant that controls the flow and direction of electric current together with Denso, the world’s largest automaker.

“Semiconductors are becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry as mobility technologies, including autonomous driving and electrification, advance,” said Koji Arima, president of Denso, in a presentation. “Through this collaboration, we will contribute to the stable supply of power semiconductors and electrification of automobiles.”

“It should be positive news,” said Brady Wang, Taipei-based deputy director at market research firm Counterpoint Research. UMC is already in a position to produce “third generation” semiconductors, including energy-saving semiconductors of suitable thickness for automotive use. Wang expects mass production for the Japanese automotive market. “You get the best of both worlds,” he says.

A line of insulated gate bipolar transistors, also known as IGBTs, used in electric vehicle motor controllers will be installed in USJC’s wafer fab. According to the announcement, it will be the first in Japan to produce IGBTs on 300mm wafers. Denso will provide system-oriented IGBT device and process know-how, and USJC will provide 300mm wafer manufacturing capability.

Other chip makers, including TSMC, can manufacture with IGBT technology, but Japanese companies dominate the market, says Joanne Chiao, an analyst at Taiwanese research firm TrendForce.

The UMC-Denso plant located in Mie Prefecture in central Japan is scheduled to start construction in the first half of next year. A UMC spokesperson said the plant will be able to produce 10,000 wafers a month by 2025.

“With a strong portfolio of advanced expertise and [International Automotive Task Force] With IATF 16949 certified fabs in multiple locations, UMC is well positioned to meet demands across automotive applications including advanced driver assistance systems, infotainment, connectivity and powertrain. “We look forward to taking advantage of more collaboration opportunities with the best companies in the automotive sector in the future.”

Moody’s Investors Service said that factory demand for automotive chips has increased since the first wave of the pandemic since global auto production resumed at the end of 2020, and that “detained consumer demand” for EVs and hybrids is still a factor. said to be strong. Commentary.

The automotive semiconductor market is expected to grow from $35 billion in 2020 to $68 billion in 2026, according to the Taiwan Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute.

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