Every country in the world will want the first 450mm fab

Every country in the world will want to have the first 450mm fab, it was stated at IFS 2011 in London this morning.

“Every country in the world will want it,” said Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, “where the first 450mm fab is located is going to be such an interesting decision – it will be loaded with politics.”

Future Horizons has been tasked by the EC with looking at whether it’s a good idea to encourage the European semiconductor manufacturing equipment industry by undertaking to set up an EU-backed 450mm fab line in Europe.

Asked to speculate on who would build it, Penn replied, “Well TSMC has always built all its plants in Taiwan, but 450mm could be the excuse it needs to break with that.”

Intel, with its record of following the government incentives, could be another.

Penn quoted Qualcomm as saying that if 450mm is the only way to keep their chips on a 29% cost reduction curve, then 450mm is what they want.

Asked about the formerly reluctant equipment industry response to 450mm, Penn replied: “The mood at Semicon West was reasonably positive on 450mm. Even Tokyo Electron, which used to be strongly against it, is reluctantly conceding it will happen.”

“However,” added Penn, “the industry model is so broken and so adversarial – all about cheap, cheap, cheap – that we need something built on a more integrated model. The industry has to get together and work out how 450mm will be funded and paid for.”

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