PSMC Tongluo Fab Groundbreaking Ceremony
On March 25, 2021 Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (PSMC) held a groundbreaking ceremony for a NT$278 billion 12-inch fab in the Tongluo Science Park, attended by over 400 industry representatives and political heavy hitters. The total capacity of 100,000 wafers per month will be put into production in stages beginning 2023, creating more than 3,000 new jobs in the Hsinchu and Miaoli areas and generating over NT$60 billion annually when fully utilized. The new fab’s operating model will be based on mature processes and innovative technologies, paving the way for the semiconductor industry to challenge Moore’s Law (Reverse-Moore’s Law).
The central and local heads of the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Miaoli County, along with representatives of the American Institute in Taiwan and people from the semiconductor industry were all invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of PSMC’s Tongluo Fab. Chairman Dr. Frank Huang said that since Powerchip built the first 8-inch wafer fab in Hsinchu Science Park 25 years ago, it has endured the global financial crisis, DRAM industry reshuffle, business model transformation, repayment of huge debts of NT$120 billion, and successful corporate restructuring. The rebirth of PSMC is represented by the construction of a new plant in Tongluo, which is of great significance to all employees!
Dr. Frank Huang pointed out that the rapid increase of new demand for automotive, 5G, AIoT and other chips has already caused structural changes in the global industry. At present, the market’s demand for mature-processed chips has exploded, and the demand for chips in the future will be further intensified. Therefore, Moore's Law which in the past used advanced process technology to reduce costs and earn profits by must be revised.
Dr. Huang specially created Reverse-Moore's Law to illustrate the operating strategy of PSMC’s Tongluo fab. The investment of a 12-inch wafer production line can easily reach NT$100 billion and that of the cutting-edge 3nm technology for a new 12-inch fab is closer to NT$600 billion. A wafer manufacturer must bear great financial, technical, and operational risks, and if the gross profit margin is 20% to 30%, it is considered good. By contrast, IC designers and other semiconductor peripheral supporting industries enjoy huge profits with relatively lower cost. Reverse-Moore's Law changes this unbalanced supply chain structure. Wafer manufacturing and other upstream and downstream peripheral industries must establish a new cooperation model of profit sharing and risk sharing in order to keep the semiconductor industry healthy and sustainable.
On the other hand, Dr. Huang emphasized that in addition to investing in production capacity, innovation is also critical for the wafer manufacturing industry to enhance value. PSMC is the world’s only professional foundry manufacturer that has both memory and logic process technologies. Although the process is not the most advanced, the company has successfully launched the Interchip Technology that stacks memory and logic wafers by making good use of its unique expertise. Heterogeneous wafer stacking has broken through the bottleneck of data transmission between chips, and has greatly improved computing performance and power efficiency by two or three process generations. This is not only the innovative achievement of PSMC, but it fully demonstrates the first-class strength of Taiwan’s engineering talents.
PSMC’s Tongluo fab is designed with rigorous standards for environmental protection. The wastewater recovery rate in the plant area exceeds 85%. Solar power generation and energy storage facilities are installed in the plant. The planned green power capacity is 7,500kW, and the total production capacity of this 12-inch fab is 100,000 wafers per month. The process technology covers 1x to 50nm, which is the largest and latest semiconductor manufacturing base for mature technology nodes.