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26 May 2014

Soitec and Simgui partner to produce 200mm SOI wafers in China for RF and power semiconductor markets

Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers and III-V epiwafers, and silicon-based materials firm Shanghai Simgui Technology Co Ltd, which provides both SOI wafers and epiwafer foundry services, have formed an international partnership to address both China’s growing demand and limited worldwide production capacity for 200mm SOI wafers used in fabricating semiconductors for radio-frequency (RF) and power applications. Simgui was spun off from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT) within the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and is now a joint venture with a group of investors from Silicon Valley.

In addition to giving Soitec its first wafer production capability in China, the agreement boosts the industrial manufacturing capacity of SOI wafers to meet increasing worldwide usage and represents the first step in establishing an SOI ecosystem in China.

The deal includes a licensing and technology transfer agreement under which Simgui will manufacture 200mm SOI wafers using Soitec’s proprietary Smart Cut technology. Simgui will establish a high-volume SOI manufacturing line to directly supply the Chinese market. It will also manufacture Soitec’s 200mm SOI wafers for the global market outside China, expanding Soitec’s supply to customers worldwide. Beyond this initial cooperation, the two firms plan to expand their collaborative efforts in the future to take advantage of their synergies.

The partnership “amplifies the ecosystem using Soitec’s technology and reinforces our competitive offer,” reckons Soitec’s chief operating officer Paul Boudre. “While paving the way for future cooperation between our two companies, it also reinforces Soitec’s global leadership position in SOI and immediately bolsters our presence in the Chinese market,” he adds.

“In addition to Soitec’s SOI product volume for the RF market doubling in the last two years, the products themselves are becoming the preferred solutions for RF switches embedded in smart-phones and tablets,” notes Dr Bernard Aspar, general manager of Soitec’s Communication and Power business unit. “This collaboration with Simgui will allow us to respond to the fast-growing demand we are seeing from our customers,” he adds.

“Considering that China takes over a 60% market share of the worldwide semiconductor market, to have a strategic collaboration with Soitec is very important to us,” comments Simgui’s chairman Dr Xi Wang. “This will enable us to grow our current SOI market share and address new opportunities as we help to develop China’s SOI ecosystem,” he says.

“The access to Soitec technology is an accelerator for Simgui to become a key player in thin SOI manufacturing,” reckons Simgui’s general manager Dr Feng Zhang. "On the other hand, this partnership will complete Simgui’s capabilities such as Simbond, which will further strengthen both parties’ SOI competitiveness.”

The strategic partnership enables both Soitec and Simgui to strengthen their positions in the high-growth markets for RF and power semiconductors, the firms reckon. While applications for power ICs include automotive electronics, lighting and power supplies, RF semiconductors are key drivers of 4G smart-phones. China is the world’s largest smart-phone market. Soitec claims that its RF-SOI products are already used in manufacturing by most of the leading RF foundries and have been adopted as the preferred substrates for 4G and LTE mobile computing and communication applications.

Tags: Soitec SOI engineered substrates

Visit: www.soitec.com

Visit: www.simgui.com.cn/en

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