HLMC 12-inch fab running at full capacity

China-based 12-inch wafer foundry Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC) has seen its Fab 1 run at full capacity with order visibility extended to the second half of 2017, according to company VP Jack Qi Shu.

HLMC's Fab 1 is capable of producing 35,000 12-inch wafers monthly running mainly 55nm and 40nm processes, said Shu, adding that the company has seen clear order visibility through the second half of 2017 driven by robust demand particularly that for communication chips.

Many of HLMC's customers are looking to develop their next-generation products using 28nm process technology, Shu noted. The foundry at the end of 2016 broke ground for its second 12-inch fab that will directly enter 28nm production, Shu said.

HLMC's Fab 2 is designed for monthly capacity of 40,000 wafers, and will offer both 28nm PolySiON and 28nm HKMG processes, Shu indicated. The fab will also be ready for risk production of HLMC's 14nm FinFET process.

Equipment will start to be installed at HLMC's Fab 2 in early 2018, said Shu, adding that the fab will begin production by the end of the year.

HLMC is targeting the communication sector for its 2017 growth. The foundry is also optimistic about demand coming from the automotive electronics and IoT sectors. According to Shu, HLMC in November 2016 was awarded the ISO/TS16949 certification for its manufacturing facility in Shanghai. The foundry is gearing up for robust demand for automotive navigation systems, and other car-use chips and sensor components, Shu indicated.

HLMC is also looking to grow its business in the IoT sector where demand for Bluetooth chips, RFICs and other related chips looks promising, Shu noted.

HLMC expects to post double-digit revenue growth in 2017, Shu said. China's huge domestic market demand plays a fundamental driver of HLMC's performance, Shu added.

Majority owned by the Shanghai government and backed financially by government funds, HLMC is committed to supporting the development of China's semiconductor industry and expects to make a positive contribution to the industry growth, according to Shu.