Leading US chipmaker Entegris said it is committed to investing in Taiwan as it opens the company’s “most advanced” manufacturing center on the island despite geopolitical tensions surrounding Asia’s largest economy.
“Our investment is just a sign of our conviction in the future of the semiconductor industry in Taiwan,” Bertrand Lowe, President and CEO of Entegris, told Nikkei Asia ahead of the grand opening of its $500 million facility in Kaohsiung. Southern Taiwan.
“This is the largest investment ever in the history of this company and the big news is that this is going to be our most advanced manufacturing center . . . if you want to get to 2 nanometers, 1 nanometer [chips] Or less, the best filters will be made in Taiwan.”
The smaller the nanometer size, the more advanced and powerful the semiconductor. Currently, the world’s major chip makers — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Samsung Electronics, and Intel — are racing to produce high-end chips of 3 nanometers or less.
Entegris is the world’s largest supplier of advanced filters and containers needed to ensure the purity of chemicals and liquids used to make chips and screens. Such materials are becoming increasingly important as semiconductor manufacturing grows more complex, with less margin for defects.
Counting TSMC and most other chip manufacturers around the world as customers, Entegris will make the company’s most advanced filters, enclosures and insulation materials in Taiwan, according to Loy. The CEO said the company will expand its team in Taiwan from about 700 employees to more than 1,000. The new facility is entering the trial production phase and qualification will take place during the second half of 2023. Mass production is scheduled to start in 2024.
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It makes more sense, Lowe said, to build chip material production sites near global chip centers such as Taiwan, South Korea, the United States and Japan that have been committed to developing cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing technologies, rather than in regions that focus on less advanced nodes, such as Europe and India.
“If you don’t have that commitment to pioneering [chip] process, then your [chip plants] Most likely he can be satisfied with older generation products,” Lowe said. “That means you can be supplied from almost anywhere in the world.”
This, he said, is why the company has no plans to produce chip materials in Europe or India even though those economies are preparing their own chip production levels.
Lowe also said the company has taken into account geopolitical tensions between China and Taiwan, and that it plans to add some redundant capacity at its Colorado Springs site in the US.
Business continuity plans have always been an important consideration, and this [should be in place] For all of our strategic products,” the CEO said, adding that the company hopes to have all of its critical products in at least two locations to increase supply chain flexibility.
Lowe said the semiconductor industry has learned a lot of lessons from the unprecedented supply chain constraints over the past few years.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory and does not rule out taking control of the democratically ruled island by force. Since former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei last summer, Beijing has held several live military exercises around Taiwan and escalated tensions.
Regarding the current downturn in the chip industry, Lowe said he wasn’t “overly concerned” despite expectations that the industry outlook will remain unclear until later this year or even into 2024.
“There is good evidence that we will hit bottom [of the downturn] In the [second] a fourth. But the rate and pace of recovery remains highly uncertain. In previous downturns, “You don’t have vision, and then all of a sudden, it starts going up really fast. So, I’m not worried about lack of vision because that’s not new at all.”
copy of this article First published by Nikkei Asia on May 10, 2023. © 2023 Nikkei Inc. All Rights Reserved. all rights are save.