22 Aug 2006
Promos Technologies, which specializes in making dynamic random access memory chips, has decided that now is the time to get involved in the LED business.
In a bid to compete in the LED market, two Taiwanese companies from the mainstream silicon semiconductor business have established a joint venture company.
Promos, a maker of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips, and equipment vendor Hermes-Epitek have raised NT$550 million ($16.8 million) to get the chip manufacturing firm up and running.
Promos has invested NT$160 million of its own money into the venture, and is expected to provide the MOCVD equipment required for volume wafer manufacturing at the joint venture's fab in the Tainan Science Park.
According to the Taiwan Economic News, ProMOS chairman M L Chen will oversee the running of the joint venture company, with a trial manufacturing run slated for the second quarter of 2007.
Already a large semiconductor company, with recent quarterly revenue reaching NT$11.7 billion ($360 million), Promos will have sizeable resources and experience with which to support the venture.
Hermes-Epitek sells a variety of chip processing equipment, including ion implantation, wafer probe, etching and inspection kit.
However, the market entry of the joint venture could be viewed as a late one. Taiwan's LED industry has undergone huge restructuring in the past couple of years, with much consolidation among major manufacturers.
For example, the merger between Epistar and United Epitaxy Co last year created what is believed to be the world's largest LED maker in terms of wafer volumes.
But following two years of similar retrenchment, Taiwan's LED makers have recently begun to order more MOCVD reactors as demand continues to grow. Both Veeco Instruments and Aixtron have witnessed a significant boost in orders for such equipment.