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Dongbu HiTek comes India calling! Raises hopes for foundry services!!

February 10, 2010

Find this a bit difficult to believe? Yes, its true! Top executives from South Korea’s Dongbu HiTek, which ranks among the semiconductor industry’s leading foundries, came India calling at an event organized by the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) this week, where I happened to be an attendee.

On first impression, Dongbu’s seminar on foundry services surely raises a lot of hope that India could eventually have an ‘active foundry services provider’ after all! And definitely, a player, who won’t be that expensive, one hopes, should it happen.

There’s a reason why I am using the term ‘active foundry services provider.’

While, Dongbu’s visit may not mean that India can have an actual foundry or foundry services overnight, instead, the country could well have a foundry services player, who, I felt, is quite serious about India and the Indian semiconductor industry. However, what all of this will translate into eventually, remains to be seen, as these are still very, very early days. And, Dongbu is still exploring India!

Lou N. Hutter, senior VP and GM, Analog Foundry Busines, Dongbu HiTek.

Lou N. Hutter, senior VP and GM, Analog Foundry Busines, Dongbu HiTek.

Lou N. Hutter, senior VP and GM, Analog Foundry Business and Aabid Hussain, VP of sales and marketing, Dongbu HiTek Semiconductor Business conducted a workshop on Feb 9, co-ordinated by Mandate Chips (an ISA member) and supported by the India Semiconductor Association (ISA).

Operating two world class wafer fabrication facilities — in Bucheon and Sangwoo — and leveraging key technology achievements spanning two decades, the company continues to meet the needs of fabless ventures. Its business philosophy is driven by an aggressive mission to deliver the highest quality product backed by the most responsive customer service. Overarching this mission is the vision to become the best-in-class supplier of foundry services.

To realize this vision, Dongbu HiTek pursues a “collaborate and thrive” growth strategy. Accordingly, the company continues to maintain close relations with customers and has put in place an advanced business model that adds higher value to its products and services.

Headquartered in Seoul, Dongbu has two foundries – one in Bucheon and the other in Sangwoo, both in South Korea. Fab 1 in Bucheon has a monthly capacity of 54,000 wafers in the 0.35, 0.25, 0.18 and 0.15um technology nodes. The main technologies include logic BCD, analog CMOS, HVCMOS, etc. Fab 2 in Sangwoo has a monthly capacity of  34,000 wafers in the 0.25, 0.18, 0.11um and 90nm nodes. The main technologies include logic, mixed signal, flash, RFCMOS, CIS, HVCMOS, etc. Fab 1 was acquired from Amcor in 2001 while Fab 2 has been built grounds up.

Aabid Husain said, “As we move out to higher volumes and smaller nodes, we will do new technology nodes in Fab 2.” Taiwan has been among Dongbu’s key markets and MediaTek is among its leading customers. Dongbu also has a long association with Japan. Hussain said that Toshiba has been Dongbu’s technology partner, and also draws a lot of wafers from Dongbu’s fabs. Dongbu has an office in Santa Clara, USA, and started another office in Austin last year. It plans to add another office in Boston during Q3-2010.

Husain also highlighted Dongbu’s YourFab service. An easy-to-use web based system, it facilitates real-time WIP monitoring. The service is accessible at all times from anywhere. It provides design kits and technology reports, besides PC and inline data.

Dongbu HiTek’s ShuttleChip program allows customers to share a single MultipleProject Wafer (MPW) to verify the performance of their respective prototype designs in silicon before committing to volume production. Husain said, “Indian companies can take great advantage of this program.

The ShuttleChip Program reduces the cost-burden of manufacturing chips while it also engages foundry customers at the early phase of prototype development. Accordingly, it sets the stage for close collaboration between Dongbu HiTek and its foundry customers throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Analog foundry business
Speaking on the analog foundry business, Lou Hutter said: “We need to have the right technology and really compelling technology. The next thing is design, and where the designers will work with PDKs. These have to be really great PDKs. Third, you should have a well toned manufacturing line.”

While analog offers a lot of products, each one of them would not be typically doing too much of business, individually. “If you want to be player, you’ve got to be flexible,” he added. “The life span of analog products is also large. You have to support this business and be in it for the long run,” Hutter noted. “The beauty of analog is that there is no ITRS (International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors) roadmap.”

He added that the analog business has been Dongbu’s growth engine. Last year, the analog foundry grew 30 percent in a declining maket. Dongbu expects to double it this year. “Our vision is to be the industry’s most respected analog foundry,” said Hutter. “We intend to be the analog powerhouse.”

Dongbu’s technology roadmap
Dongbu HiTek’s expanding portfolio of CMOS wafer processing options currently spans the 0.35-micron to 130-nanometer spectrum. This broad offering will soon be augmented with a 90nm processing option that is being developed by Dongbu Hitek’s “Nano Team.”

When this development is complete, Dongbu HiTek will have qualified four generations of processing technologies, which enable SoC implementations that integrate the most advanced mixed-signal, logic and analog functions.

  1. Robert
    March 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    A really informative blog, in deed. Foundries and casting industry are such which can be never set.

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