Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) GlobalWafers Co., a leading silicon wafer supplier in Taiwan, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with U.S.-based contract chipmaker GlobalFoundries Inc. to expand cooperation in wafer development.
Under the MOU, GlobalWafers said, the two sides will develop a long term agreement for the Taiwanese firm to supply 12-inch silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers to the U.S. firm.
GlobalWafers currently has a long and ongoing cooperative relationship with GlobalFoundries for the supply of 8-inch SOI wafers.
SOI wafers technology refers to a semiconductor structure consisting of a layer of single crystalline silicon separated from the bulk substrate by a thin layer of insulator.
GlobalWafers said the MOU aims to take advantage of the company's 12-inch SOI capability and GlobalFoundries's strength in radio frequency technology to provide a low power, high performance, and easy-to-integrate solution to be used by next generation mobile devices and 5G applications.
The Taiwanese company said ties with GlobalFoundries in 12-inch SOI wafer supply are expected to help GlobalWafers widen its product portfolio, boost global competitiveness and strengthen its bottom line.
In December, GlobalWafers announced it has decided to repatriate US$350 million back to Taiwan for investments, taking advantage of a preferential tax status created by a newly passed law that encourages Taiwanese firms to repatriate retained earnings.
GlobalWafers said it will use the funds to upgrade high-end processes, while speeding up the pace at which it develops silicon wafers for 5G devices, power electronics and electric vehicles.
GlobalWafers added it also aims to expand an existing research and development center in Taiwan and assign more funds to green energy development, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power consumption in silicon wafer manufacturing.
Currently, GlobalWafers is the third largest silicon wafer manufacturer in the world after acquiring Singapore-based SunEdison Semiconductor Ltd. for US$683 million in late 2016.
GlobalWafers operates 15 production facilities in Taiwan, Japan, the United States, South Korea, Italy, Denmark, Malaysia and China.