TAIPEI, TAIWAN - November 07, 2000. The WIN Semiconductors Corp. has successfully completed processing of the first, 6-inch, 2u, GaAs (InGaP) HBT wafer in Asia. This milestone has been achieved only two months after the installation of processing equipment in WIN's new fabrication facility. The achievement of this milestone demonstrates not only the viability of the InGaP HBT process, but also WIN's ability to bring together people, technology, equipment, and facilities in order to form what is expected to be the world's leading GaAs MMIC Foundry. Additionally, it underscores Taiwan's ability to keep pace with companies around the world. The InGaP HBT technology can be used to produce power amplifiers for use in cellular handsets, as well as PCS and 3G wireless applications.
The company was established in October 1999, and broke ground for its corporate offices and wafer fabrication facility in November of that year. Construction was essentially completed in July of 2000. Processing equipment was installed, and operating, in September of this year. Industry response has been positive. With the start of test runs in September, the company has been contacted by, and met with, many Communications IDM companies and Microwave Design companies. Production will start during the 1st quarter of 2001, with output rising to 30,000 wafers per year by the end of 2002. In full production, WIN will produce 100,000 wafers per year. At that point, it will be the largest, and most technically advanced, GaAs MMIC Fab in Taiwan. Revenues are expected to exceed $0.5 Billion (US) per year.
Dr. CS Wu, the President/CEO of WIN, has emphasized that the high power and high frequency GaAs MMIC technology maintains a firm lead over such competing technologies as low-breakdown voltage SiGe devices.
This 2u, InGaP HBT is only one of many technologies being employed by WIN. Additionally, the company will offer production capabilities for 1m HBT's, as well as pHEMT devices in 0.15u, 0.35u, and 0.5u line widths. The primary application for WIN's L-band HBT technology is in advanced PCS/cellular phones; but it is suitable for many other wireless applications in the low frequency range as well. WLAN (potentially for Bluetooth) and two-way pagers are examples of these applications.
WIN will manufacture GaAs pHEMT MMIC's for the growing, Ka-band market. Applications within the technology are LMDS, satellite telecommunication (SATCOM, VSAT), automotive sensors and point-to-point radio links. This technology can also be used in a variety of niche applications such as fiber-optic electronics, ultra low-noise CATV tuners, and smart defense systems.
WIN's technical expertise, and state-of-the-art facility, will increase the competitive advantage of its customers through the delivery of high volume, low cost, technically advanced devices.
The GaAs HBT has become very popular due to the explosive growth in wireless communications. The specific technical knowledge required for GaAs processing, and yield limitations, form barriers to entry into this arena. There are only a few 6-inch GaAs processing companies (Anadigics and Lockheed-Martin Sanders in the United States and Infinion, Filtronics in Europe) in the world today. The 6-inch GaAs processing industry is still in its infancy as most of these companies are still installing equipment and/or processing test runs. WIN has entered this arena as the first, pure-play, 6-inch GaAs foundry company in the world.
Market analysis indicates that the cellular phone industry will remain the largest growth area for the GaAs IC. The current market for this product is approximately $2 Billion (US) with 60% of that being the type of devices WIN will manufacture. This market is expected to grow at a rate of 34% (CGAR). Additionally, the market for devices used in collision avoidance systems is expected to grow at a rate of 79% (CGAR) from its current level of $0.2 Billion (US) to $5 Billion (US) by 2003. Added to this will be the market for high-speed fiber optic and fixed-net wide band communications devices.
Based on the above, WIN estimates that the market demand for 6-inch GaAs wafers will grow to more than 1 million per year over the next 3 to 4 years.