Macronix International Co (旺宏), the world’s biggest supplier of NOR flash memory chips, yesterday said it plans to allocate NT$41.5 billion (US$1.48 billion) to expand 12-inch wafer capacity for advanced 3D NAND and NOR flash memory chips, as it has technology readiness and there is robust market demand.
Some of the new chips will be designed for vehicles, Macronix said.
The company aims to this year become the world’s largest supplier of NOR flash memory chips used in automobiles.
Photo courtesy of Macronix International Co
The outlay is for a second-phase expansion of Macronix’s Fab 5 in Hsinchu, and the company expects to ship the first chips from the new production line in the fourth quarter of next year, while the line would begin contributing revenue in 2023.
“We will be very careful and disciplined in carrying out this capital expenditure plan,” Macronix president Lu Chih-yuan (盧志遠) told investors during a quarterly online conference.
“It is a multi-phase capacity expansion plan,” Lu said.
The capacity expansion would help boost Macronix’s profit growth and enhance its flexibility in product allocations, Lu said.
The Fab 5 is to have an installed capacity of 40,000 12-inch wafers per month, up from 20,000 wafers, he said.
The new investment would not compromise its gross margin, he said.
Gross margin improved to 39.1 percent last quarter, the highest since the second quarter of 2018.
Macronix’s net profit surged 45 percent to NT$1.93 billion last quarter on higher shipments and better prices, compared with NT$1.33 billion a year earlier.
On a quarterly basis, net profit soared 110 percent from NT$916 million, the company said.
Earnings per share increased to NT$1.04, from NT$0.72 a year earlier and NT$0.5 last quarter, it said.
The company is upbeat about this quarter, expecting full factory utilization on the back of robust demand.
“We expect this situation to extend into this quarter. We are optimistic about the fourth quarter,” Lu said. “We do not see any negative indicators.”
The company expects strong demand for read-only memory (ROM) chips due to seasonal factors, Lu said.
Macronix is a long-term ROM supplier to Nintendo Co.
ROM chips accounted for 27 percent of Macronix’s total revenue last quarter, compared with 26 percent in the first quarter. NOR memory chips made up 50 percent, while NAND memory chips contributed 16 percent. The remaining 7 percent was from foundry services.
Macronix expects to strike a deal with a potential buyer for its 6-inch fab this summer.
The fab has contributed NT$1.3 billion to NT$1.4 billion a year in revenue.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
Production at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp’s (TSMC, 台積電) fabs was not affected by a fire at a construction site for a water recycling facility in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that the construction site is not adjacent to its fabs, which were unaffected. CTCI Corp (中鼎工程) is responsible for the construction of the facility, which it is to operate itself once it is completed, the chipmaker said. The facility caught fire at about 11am, and the blaze was brought under control about 30 minutes after the incident was reported, the Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has
‘NO NEGOTIATING’: Acer spokesperson Steven Chung said customers in India whose data were affected were informed, while no user data in Taiwan was compromised PC vendor Acer Inc (宏碁) yesterday confirmed that it was hacked twice in one week — once in Taiwan and once in India — but denied any damage or leak of customer data. Acer spokesperson Steven Chung (鐘興維) said that the customers in India whose data were affected were informed, while no user data in Taiwan was compromised. The hackers have tried to initiate communication, but Acer has not responded, Chung said. “We are not going to negotiate and it is not company policy to pay ransom to hackers,” he said. Upon detecting the hack, Acer initiated all security protocols and conducted