TSMC Announces First 300mm Customer Product Wafer Starts

HSIN-CHU, Taiwan, November 16, 2000 - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) (NYSE:TSM) today announced that it has begun processing the foundry industry's first 300mm customer product wafers on its Fab 6 pilot line. Product designs from multiple customers, including Altera Corporation (Nasdaq: ALTR) and Brilliance Semiconductor, Inc. (BSI), were started earlier this month.

Altera, a leading programmable logic device (PLD) supplier and BSI, a Taiwan-based supplier of SRAM for portable applications, are just two of the first wave advanced technology partners that are expected to have their designs produced on 300mm wafers during the fourth quarter. These partners are expected to complete evaluation and testing of the first production wafers, followed by ramp-up.

At the same time, TSMC announced that it used a fully JEDEC-compliant 300mm test chip to characterize the process and equipment prior to customer's foundry products. The JEDEC test chip contains a variety of industry-standard test patterns, standard cells, circuits and functions that can be rigorously tested and analyzed to ensure the best possible 300mm manufacturing experience. The use of JEDEC-standard test chips is unique in the foundry industry, and is expected to accelerate the delivery of high-yield 300mm wafers with right-the-first-time customer designs. The JEDEC test chip methodology has been practiced by TSMC with each new technology validation.

"TSMC's current 200mm manufacturing equipment is reaching its theoretical limits in terms of yield and throughput," stated Dr. F C Tseng, president of TSMC. "The move to 300mm manufacturing opens up more room for improvement, ultimately resulting in higher yields, higher volumes, and higher product quality for our customers."

TSMC has again stated its 100 percent committment to 300mm as the manufacturing technology for the future.

"As we have said many times before, TSMC is committed to being the industry leader in technology, capacity and service, at every technology node," added Dr. Rick Tsai, executive vice president, worldwide marketing and sales. "Working in close cooperation with advanced technology partners, TSMC is confident in its ability to lead the industry into this new era of manufacturing technology."

"The first 300mm customer wafer represents the start of another truly exciting era for the foundry industry," said Dr. N.S. Tsai, senior director of TSMC's 300mm Project. "We believe that, with a surface area 2.25 times larger than its 200mm predecessor, and capable of even higher yields, the 300mm wafer will become the workhorse technology of the IC industry."

"One of the advantages of being a TSMC advanced technology partner is that we are able to help move the foundry in new directions that will benefit the entire IC industry," said Francois Gregoire, vice president of technology for Altera. "In Altera's case, this benefit is derived from the fact that 300mm wafer is ideal for producing high volumes of the large, high-performance system-on-a-programmable-chip products that our customers are increasingly demanding."

About TSMC's 300mm Plans

TSMC's 300mm manufacturing technology production ramp began with the construction of Fab 6, the world's largest IC manufacturing facility. As TSMC Chairman Dr. Morris Chang pointed out during the opening ceremonies for the fab last March, the facility is both "TSMC's last 200mm production facility and its first 300mm production facility." While the majority of the fab's production equipment is committed to 200mm (8-inch) manufacturing, a portion of the ballroom is dedicated to the company's 300mm pilot line.

The 300mm pilot line in Fab 6 was developed to evaluate and define the equipment set that will be used in TSMC's first two dedicated 300mm manufactu