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  • Micron to build up Taiwan fabs, boost recruitment

    Micron Technology Inc plans to add about 1,150 new employees in Taiwan through next year to cope with DRAM technology upgrades, corporate officials said yesterday.

    The new hires are part of the US memorychip maker’s ongoing efforts to build its local operation into one of its most advanced DRAM manufacturing and 3D memorychip packaging and testing sites in the world.

    Good progress has been made in building up its 3D DRAM packaging capacity, as a back-end site in Taichung has started shipping DRAM chips used in servers, officials told a media briefing in Taichung.

    The Taichung operation, which has recruited 1,100 employees, plans to broaden its offerings to provide high-end chip testing and packaging services for DRAMs used in cars, they said.

    “Having all the functions here, we can have a very competitive cost structure, a lower end-to-end product cycle time, since we have all the manufacturing in one location,” said Wayne Allan, a senior vice president of Micron’s global manufacturing.

    Micron also operates two front-end manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, one in Taoyuan and the other in Taichung, allowing it to provide end-to-end manufacturing services.

    “We categorize the DRAM market as stronger and NAND to be well-balanced between supply and demand ... and we expect that to continue through this calendar year,” Allan said.

    To satisfy the expected annual DRAM market growth of 20 percent this year, Micron is focusing on technology upgrades to help it boost output, Allan said.

    The chipmaker has set a goal of 45 percent growth in NAND flash memory chips this year, which would be slightly above market demand, he said.

    The Taoyuan fab is converting capacity from 20-nanometer technology to 1X-nanometer technology and is to ramp up next-generation technology, or 1Y-nanometer technology, at the end of this year, Allan said.

    The Taichung fab has fully converted to 1X-nanometer technology and is scheduled to move into 1Z-nanometer technology in the second half of next year, with technology transferred from Micron’s Japan fab, he said.

    Micron’s operations in Taiwan had a headcount of 6,500 as of the end of last year and the number is expected to increase to 7,650 by the end of next year, company data showed.

    Commenting on growing competition from China, Allan said there is a very high bar for new entrants and it takes a rich intellectual property portfolio to develop the kinds of products and qualities that can compete with Micron’s.

    “That’s not something you can replicate overnight,” he said.

    With China placing more importance on protecting intellectual property right, Allen was asked if Micron was interested in licensing its technology to its Chinese peers.

    “We are not interest in that type of activity” at the moment, he said, adding that Micron has built a great presence in China with good clients and back-end facilities.


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