Foxconn Purchases Fab to Produce Silicon Carbide Wafer Chips
Hon Hai Technology Group, also known as Foxconn, has signed a six-inch wafer fab transaction with non-volatile memory (NVM) manufacturer Macronix.
As part of the new Asset Transaction Agreement, Macronix will sell its equipment in Hsinchu Science Park to Foxconn for NT$2.52 billion (roughly US$90 million).
The agreement is expected to be finalized by the end of 2021.
Foxconn CEO Young Liu (right) and Macronix CEO Miin Wu formalizing the new agreement. Image used courtesy of Foxconn/Macronix.
Entering the SiC Space
According to Young Liu, Chairman, and CEO of Foxconn, the acquisition of the 6-inch wafer fab in Hsinchu Science Park represents Foxconn’s intention to start the manufacturing and development of wide bandgap semiconductors, and SiC (silicon carbide) in particular.
The move also reportedly paves the way for a long-term commitment to semiconductor development, in line with Foxconn’s 3+3 strategy, which focuses on electric vehicles (EV), digital health, Robotics + AI, semiconductor, advanced communication respectively.
“SiC MOSFET is an important device for EV, while EV occupies the No.1 position in Foxconn’s 3+3 strategy,” Liu explained.
For context, Foxconn has been particularly active in the EV industry in the past few years. For instance, in November 2020 last year, the firm launched new software and hardware open platform for EVs.
In addition, the 6-inch wafer fab will act as the firm’s headquarters in Hsinchu, a well-known semiconductor cluster, thus enabling closer partnership with semiconductor businesses based in Hsinchu Science Park.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is one such company, in addition to being a major supplier to Foxconn.
A Power-Focussed Partnership
Following the beginning of the partnership, Foxconn will use the wafer fab facilities to start manufacturing SiC Power MOSFET, as well as silicon wafer products like microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for electric vehicles and digital health.
Macronix, on the other hand, said it will start focusing on the 12-inch wafer business, particularly R&D and manufacturing of advanced 3D NAND Flash and NOR Flash products after capacity expansion.
Commenting on the news, Miin Wu, Chairman, and CEO of Macronix said the move will also contribute to the strengthening of Foxconn’s EV business.
“Macronix is pleased to see the subject 6-inch wafer fab continue to make its contribution to Taiwan as Foxconn commits to have the fab be used as an important base for Foxconn to reinforce its semiconductor development plan and to meet the demand of electric vehicles.”
The executive also confirmed the companies are thinking about additional partnerships in the future.
”Considering that Macronix is advancing to take the lead in the global automotive electronics market, a closer collaboration between Macronix and Foxconn in the near future may be anticipated,” Wu said.
The transaction follows the acquisition of Belkin International for approximately $866 million which Foxconn completed in March 2018.