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Ground breaking at Winbond Kaohsiung plant set for September

2018/06/11 15:37:47

Winbond Electronics Corp. Chair Arthur Yu-cheng Chiao

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Winbond Electronics Corp. said Monday it plans to break ground on its new memory chip plant, an investment of more than NT$300 billion (US$10.06 billion) in Kaohsiung, in September.

At an annual general meeting held on Monday, Winbond Chairman and CEO Arthur Yu-cheng Chiao (焦佑鈞) said the new investment is in the planning stage after which the company will seek approval from its board to start construction in September.

Chiao said Winbond is looking to install production equipment in the new Kaohsiung plant in 2020, but no information about when the new facility will start production was immediately available.

Winbond announced in September 2017 that it will invest NT$335 billion to build a 12-inch wafer plant in the Kaohsiung section of the Southern Taiwan Science Park to roll out wafers for production of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips and flash memory chips.

The new plant will focus on producing specialty DRAMs which command higher profit margins than those of standard DRAMs. Winbond is one of only a handful of memory chip makers in the world to own both DRAM and flash memory chip production technology.

The Winbond investment is the second largest in the Southern Taiwan Science Park, which houses many of Taiwan's high-tech giants, following a wafer foundry plant for the advanced 3 nanometer process announced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chip maker, last year with an investment estimated at more than NT$500 billion.

TSMC's new foundry plant will be located in the Tainan section of the science park.

Winbond's new 12-inch wafer plant is expected to create almost 1,000 new jobs in Kaohsiung and boost Taiwan's competitive edge in the global semiconductor market, while the investment is likely to help the Southern Taiwan Science Park expand its semiconductor cluster, in particular in the Kaohsiung section.

Winbond made the announcement at a time when memory chips are in tight supply on the global market, which has seen memory chip prices rise.

At the shareholder meeting, Chiao said there is plenty of room for the global memory chip market to grow over the next 10 years and through the new investment in Kaohsiung the company will be better placed to meet rising demand.

At the meeting, shareholders approved a project in which Winbond will issue a NT$1 cash dividend for each share held by shareholders for the company's 2017 earnings per share of NT$1.54.

Bucking consolidation on the main board on Monday, shares in Winbond rose 0.73 percent to close at NT$20.65 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, where the weighted index ended the session 0.06 percent lower.

(By Chang Chien-chung and Frances Huang)