Korea focuses on 2000 for UK fabs

Korea focuses on 2000 for UK fabs
Korean spending priority is for R&D to accelerate the introduction of new products and to take DRAM technology leadership; investment is for 256Mbit generation. David Manners in Seoul. LG Semicon and Hyundai have completed their investment in new factories for 64Mbit DRAMs and any investment in their UK fab projects will be for the 256Mbit generation. This means that the Newport and Dunfermline fabs may not be due for volume production until 2000/2001. Senior managers at both companies told Electronics Weekly in Seoul earlier this week that their spending priority is for R&D to accelerate the introduction of new products and to take DRAM technology leadership. With 64Mbit prices at $10 and falling, there is little incentive to invest further in the 64Mbit generation, they said. Reports in the Korean Mail Business Newspaper on Monday (April 27) stated not only that the two companies would not go ahead with their UK fab projects without an injection of foreign capital, but that Samsung would not invest the projected $612m scheduled for its Wynyard domestic appliance plant. The report stated that Samsung had so far invested $88m in Wynyard and that LG had invested $400m at Newport. The focus of LG and Hyundai spending plans is to bring up Korean fabs to higher technology processes. Hyundai said that it would have two fabs, Fabs 6 and 7 at Ichon, capable of a 0.20-micron processing by the end of this year plus its new fab in Oregon. LG said it would have one Korean fab at 0.18 micron by the end of this year. That will enable the companies to make 6th and 7th generation PC100 64Mbit DRAMs, monolithic 128Mbit DRAMs and, when the market requires them, 256Mbit DRAMs. Hyundai expects to see PC100 DRAMs for the new 100MHz PC system bus taking over half the total DRAM market by the end of this year, while LG calculates that PC100 will take 70 per cent of the market by year’s end. LG intends to have PC100 representing 80 per cent of all its DRAM production in Q4. Govt pins hopes on fab talks
Scottish office officials have told Electronics Weekly they believe Hyundai are in talks with a prospective partner or partners for their delayed UK semiconductor fab. Locate in Scotland’s Martin Togneri optimistically suggested that the advanced state of the negotiations made it possible that the factory could open sooner than the end of 1999. But he told the Scottish Affairs Committee of the Commons that title to the land on which the fab stands had not been handed over to the firm despite pressure to do so.

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