SSMC Opens Record-breaking US$1.2 Billion

HSIN-CHU, Taiwan—May 11, 2001—Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) announced that Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company (SSMC), the joint venture between TSMC, Philips Semiconductors and Economic Development Board Investments (EDBI) of Singapore today officially opened its record-breaking US$1.2 billion wafer production fab. Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry, Brigadier-General George Yeo officiated at the event.

Just 17 months after ground-breaking, the fab achieved its first commercial billing – a record for the semiconductor industry – and produced its first yielding silicon only 90 days after the first process equipment was installed. Production cycle time and yields are already comparable with the best ever achieved by fabs run by Philips Semiconductors and TSMC.

“Singapore is the ideal location for the fab, enabling us to exploit the potential growth in this dynamic market,” said Tony Lear, Chief Executive Officer at SSMC. “With its world-class infrastructure, well-educated workforce and the enthusiastic support of the government to companies investing in the IT and electronics industries, Singapore is poised to become the high-tech hub of Asia.”

With an excellent equipment line up, the fab will use the latest mainstream CMOS processes to meet market demand for high volume system-on-chip solutions. The initial output will be chips with feature sizes of 0.25 μm and 0.18 μm, accelerating to 0.15 μm and 0.12 μm in 2002. The fab has the capacity to produce 30,000 eight-inch wafers per month when full capacity is reached.

“We are delighted by the strong vote of confidence that Philips and TSMC have in the long-term prospects of the worldwide semiconductor industry and in Singapore's competitiveness,” said Brigadier-General George Yeo, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry. “The Singapore Government will continue to invest heavily in infrastructure and capability development ahead of demand. For instance, as we move up the value ladder into knowledge-intensive activities, demand for highly-trained technical manpower will increase. The two new manpower capability initiatives will create a sizable pool of additional engineering manpower for the industry to draw from.”

Arthur van der Poel, Chairman and Chief Executive of Philips Semiconductors said, “With the increasing emphasis on systems-on-silicon and the growing market for chips with feature sizes of 0.15 μm and beyond, this strategically important long-term investment will deliver exactly the right products at the right time to meet industry demands. As those demands increase, the initial investment of US$1.2 billion is likely to be exceeded.”

SSMC’s CMOS-Logic chips are customised to suite a wide range of applications for telecommunications, multimedia, digital consumer electronics and networking and information technologies.

“The grand opening of Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company marks a significant milestone in TSMC’s long-term growth and in the geographic expansion of our manufacturing capabilities,” said Dr. F.C. Tseng, President of TSMC. “SSMC allows us to increase our manufacturing capacity and advance our semiconductor technology to enable a new wave of technological innovation in the global semiconductor market. We are confident that this development will lead to win-win results for TSMC, Philips, SSMC and Singapore.”

The facility, which is located at Singapore’s Pasir Ris Wafer Fab Park, currently employs 700 people and that figure is expected to rise to 1,000 by the time maximum capacity is reached. It was set up using a core team of experts from Philips Semiconductors and TSMC. More than 150 engineers received specialist training at Philips Semiconductors’ fab in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and TSM