Tech giant Samsung Electronics, which aims to take the reins of the global non-memory chip industry, is speeding up efforts to increase its presence in the global foundry segment by expanding partnerships for contract chip manufacturing.
The South Korean chipmaker is reportedly in negotiations with German semiconductor firm Infineon Technologies to roll out power semiconductors for vehicles. The news comes on the heels of an earlier report this month that said Samsung will work with US graphics chip firm AMD.
Infineon Technologies comes first in the global power semiconductor segment. Samsung, the largest memory chip company, runs a foundry, or contract-based chip manufacturing, business through which it builds semiconductors for customers.
If the deal is struck, Samsung will likely utilize its foundry line where it produces chips based on 8-inch wafers in Giheung, Gyeonggi Province. The tech giant recently increased production capacity at the manufacturing line from 200,000 wafers per month to 250,000 to quickly respond to increasing demand for automotive chips, and plans to increase further to 300,000 depending on market conditions down the road.
Chip production with 8-inch wafers has been on a downward trajectory since the early 2000s as 12-inch wafers, which are more productive than the smaller wafers, have gone mainstream. With the emergence of automotive and internet of things technologies, which require smaller and more various semiconductors, chip productions with 8-inch wafers have been thrust into the limelight again.
“As different segments, such as automotive, IoT and mobile, need a wider variety of chips, chip production based on 8-inch wafers has been gaining new traction,” an industry official was quoted as saying by local news outlet Money Today.
Other global tech firms that have recently joined forces with Samsung include IBM, Nvidia and Qualcomm. IBM previously announced it will work with Samsung to churn out CPUs for its data servers while Nvidia is said to have requested the Korean chipmaker build its next-gen GPUs.
Taiwanese foundry giant TSMC was in charge of producing US chip company Qualcomm’s 7-nanometer-based mobile chip processors last year, but the US firm is expected to utilize Samsung’s 7-nm chip fabrication technology for its new mobile chips this year.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)