UMC Takes 9 Percent Stake in Chipbond

Article By : Alan Patterson

Growing demand for OLED and flexible displays and rapid adoption of smart wearables and AR/VR devices are boosting the display driver business.

Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) and Chipbond Technology Corp. have done a share swap that leaves UMC with a 9 percent stake in the LCD driver packaging specialist.

The two companies formed closer ties to offer their customers added value in the LCD driver business. Chip foundry UMC has process technology that spans 14 nanometers to 0.6 microns. Chipbond focuses on driver IC packaging and testing, flip-chip bump production and wafer-level chip-size packaging and testing (WLCSP). The chip packager has also been investing in fan-out system-in-package (FOSiP) and flip-chip system in a package (FCSiP).

The partners are aiming for a display driver market that’s expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% during the period 2021-2026, according to Research and Markets. Growing demand for OLED and flexible displays for mobile and tablet devices and rapid adoption of smart wearables and AR/VR devices are increasing the number of display manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific region and boosting the display driver business, the Research and Markets report said.

(Source: Chipbond)

UMC is building its own packaging technology as rivals in the chip foundry business put more effort into integrating front- and backend production.

“UMC must continue to develop its own foundry technology while joining forces with strategic partners,” UMC President SC Chien said in a press statement. “By combining technical expertise of both parties and integrating upstream and downstream resources, we can provide customers with advanced process technology solutions and a more comprehensive service.”

UMC said it is the first Taiwanese foundry to manufacture driver ICs, as well as the first to use a 28nm high-voltage process in AMOLED driver IC production, which has now advanced to 22nm process capabilities. Chipbond is the world’s largest driver IC packaging and testing house in capacity and technology. The two companies said they plan to integrate front-end and back-end process technologies and develop driver ICs for higher frequency and lower power consumption.

As Moore’s Law loses steam and gains in transistor density wane, chip makers are focusing more attention on packaging technology. In 2021, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s biggest chip foundry, said it expects to invest about 10 percent of a total capital expenditure budget of $28 billion for advanced packaging and mask-making.

In August 2020, TSMC introduced the latest of its chip packaging technologies, 3DFabric. The technology for 3D chips offers semiconductor designers the freedom to design products as a system of chiplets.

In recent years, UMC has developed compound semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) power devices and radio frequency component processes, targeting market opportunities for high-efficiency power components and 5G radio frequency components.

Chipbond has specialized in packaging and testing power supply and RF components. In addition to silicon, Chipbond has expanded to compound wafers including gallium arsenide (GaAs), silicon carbide (SiC), and gallium nitride (GaN).

This article was originally published on EE Times.

Alan Patterson has worked as an electronics journalist in Asia for most of his career. In addition to EE Times, he has been a reporter and an editor for Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswires. He has lived for more than 30 years in Hong Kong and Taipei and has covered tech companies in the greater China region during that time.


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