A robotic arm strikes 300 mm silicon semiconductor wafers inside a sorting machine in a cleanroom at a Globalfoundries Inc. semiconductor fabrication plant.
Liesa Johannssen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S.-headquartered InternationalFoundries introduced Tuesday the opening of its $4 billion enlargement fabrication plant in Singapore because the contract chipmaker expects “growth in demand for essential semiconductor chips.”
“I’m confident that over the next decade, this industry will double again,” Thomas Caulfield, president and CEO of InternationalFoundries, informed CNBC in an interview forward of Tuesday’s opening.
Some catalysts embrace “new and important applications, the whole AI and how that will change society” — which would require chips and create demand, he defined.
“Automotive seems to be staying strong. Cloud for artificial intelligence seems to be strong. Industrial is holding in there. Anything consumer related is still weak,” Caulfield mentioned Monday.
Foundries are firms which might be contracted by semiconductor corporations to fabricate chips. InternationalFoundries makes semiconductors designed by the likes of Qualcomm, MediaTek and NXP Semiconductors, and serves roughly 200 clients globally.
Its chips are present in smartphones, laptops, vehicles, digital actuality techniques, online game consoles, sensible audio system, and are additionally utilized in AI and 5G.
Singapore provides 11% of the world’s semiconductors, in accordance with the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association.
Partnership with Singapore
InternationalFoundries is the world’s third-largest foundry by income behind TSMC and Samsung, in accordance with market intelligence supplier TrendForce.
The 23,000-square meter fab facility in Singapore will enhance the corporate’s world manufacturing footprint and increase its skill to serve clients throughout its manufacturing websites in three continents, the press launch mentioned.
“As Singapore’s most advanced semiconductor facility to date, the expansion fab will produce an additional 450,000 wafers (300mm) annually, raising GlobalFoundries Singapore’s overall capacity to approximately 1.5 million wafers (300mm) each year,” it added.
InternationalFoundries acquired Singapore’s Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing and took over its fabs in 2010.
The website’s present manufacturing capability is 720,000 (300mm) wafers and 692,000 (200mm) wafers a 12 months. Such wafers are the essential materials for manufacturing chips.
The new facility will create about 1,000 “high-value” jobs in Singapore, of which 95% will embrace tools technicians, course of technicians and engineers, the corporate mentioned. InternationalFoundries at present hires roughly 4,500 staff on the Singapore website.
InternationalFoundries introduced in June 2021 the development of a brand new fab on its present Singapore campus, in partnership with the city-state’s Economic Development Board, as a way to meet world demand for semiconductor chips at the moment.
The following June, the Nasdaq-listed semiconductor producer mentioned its first instrument had been moved into the Singapore facility. It additionally has manufacturing services within the U.S. and Germany.
“GlobalFoundries had a long partnership with the Singapore government. The Singapore government has industrial policies about bringing high tech manufacturing, high tech innovation to the region. And it’s why you see so many great companies having manufacturing here,” Caulfield informed CNBC’s Sri Jegarajah.
“What happens now is when other nations realize how important semiconductor manufacturing is to their region, for sovereign security, for supply chain, for economic security, they too [will] want to have semiconductor manufacturing, and that they need to adjust their industrial policies to help create that competitive landscape where manufacturing and those regions are economically competitive,” he added.
The enlargement may also implement AI instruments to enhance productiveness reminiscent of wafer sample recognition to auto-classify and spot defects in wafers, mentioned InternationalFoundries.
Smartphone and PC makers are at present grappling with extra inventories of reminiscence chips after stockpiling them in the course of the pandemic-induced growth. As inflation soared, customers have been chopping again on these items and costs for reminiscence chips have fallen.
The likes of Taiwanese semiconductor foundry TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung have reported declines in second-quarter revenue as weak demand for reminiscence chips continued.
“We’ve seen in the second quarter of this year, inventories at semiconductor companies still climb but at a much muted rate,” mentioned Caulfield. “The good news is we’ve also seen the inventory further down the supply chain, such as system companies, start to go down. And so maybe there is a little bit of a glimmer here that inventory is starting to correct.”
However, world inflation needs to be underneath management first earlier than rates of interest can come down and client spending might be wholesome once more, significantly in China, he mentioned.