UMC sets sight on 20nm chips with $8 billion fab

United Microelectronics Corporation is investing in a new $8 billion fab to drive 28nm production and move towards a future generation of 20nm production.

The semi firm broke ground on the factory today, and will start moving towards phases 5 and 6 of production. UMC has already invested $8 billion in its Fab 12A and the next two phases will mean the same amount of money.  UMC also has plans for phases 7 and 8 at the plant. 

UMC, the main foundry competitor to domestic rival TSMC, is investing a sizeable wad of cash in the 300mm fab at its Tainan, Taiwan complex, in order to expand capacity for 28nm production.

The extra capacity at 28nm will be welcomed in the supply chain, with reports that TSMC has struggled to maintain production at this process size.  

Customers such as Qualcomm, AMD and Nvidia ended up switching some orders to UMC after 28nm production delays from TSMC. 

Production will also get started for UMC at the 20nm process as foundries try to keep up with Intel’s trailblazing, and will also provide some 14nm capacity when equipment moves during the latter part of 2013.