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UMC prepares for expansion

It's fun being in the lead. You have fresh air in your lungs, an unobstructed view of the future and the world seems to be a beautiful place. That said, your back is nicely exposed to the people behind you and they all want the same thing. To see you fall. Welcome to the world of TSMC. KitGuru buys a FAB ice lolly and heads off to see who's breaking the ground around the south of Taiwan.

Founded in 1980, UMC was the original Taiwanese FAB company. Following TSMC's admission that it is struggling with capacity, UMC is taking the plunge and adding loads more capacity with the opening of a new facility in the south – with the aim of picking up a stack more business going forward.

Dr. Shih-Wei Sun is currently UMC's Chief Executive Officer. He was previously Chief Operating Officer, accountable for 12-inch operations and he's been with the company for almost 20 years.

He has been the mastermind behind UMC's ambitious plan to add 50,000 wafers a month capacity. Initially, these will be 28nm, but the company has plans in place to produce 20nm and 14nm soon enough. Internally, UMC is calling these new additions Phase 5 and 6 for FAB 12a.

If you ever wondered how big this kind of FAB is, you need to imagine a clean room area that is bigger than 10 soccer pitches.

Shots from the Chinese press show busy times ahead for UMC

KitGuru says: Pushing $8 billion into a project like this is a serious investment, let's hope that UMC manages to align its production capacity increase with the requirements of companies like Qualcomm and nVidia.

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