by Anton Shilov
02/07/2013 | 11:55 PM
Fujitsu Limited and Panasonic Corp. have announced that the two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to consolidate the design and development functions of the system chip businesses of Panasonic and Fujitsu Semiconductor. Separately, Fujitsu announced plans to transfer its 300mm Line of the Mie plant to a to a new foundry company including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
With the backing of capital contributions from third-party investors, Fujitsu and Panasonic will establish a new company that will design and developer various chips and will function under a fabless business model. The two companies have agreed to discuss the transfer of business to the new company. In establishing the new integrated company, Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) has been asked to assist with investment and financing. Fujitsu and Panasonic are currently engaged in detailed discussions with the goal of promptly finalizing a contract.
Fujitsu Semiconductor and Panasonic each possess advanced technologies and significant intellectual property in the field of system highly-integrated chip devices, and have been supporting the products of customers both inside and outside Japan through the provision of advanced products.
Due to recent changes on the market of semiconductors, chip businesses of Fujitsu Semiconductor and Panasonic have been facing a severe business environment. In light of this situation, Fujitsu and Panasonic have both come to acknowledge that bringing together their respective advanced technologies and customer bases is vital to build a competitive business globally. Focusing on system semiconductor marketing, design and development under a fabless model, Fujitsu and Panasonic aim to achieve future growth in system chip businesses.
Fujitsu SPARC64 VIIIfx processor. Image by PC Watch
With the new integrated company, Fujitsu and Panasonic plan to combine the technological prowess that they have long accumulated, while concentrating new investments on key fields to be a global top-level company.
Since 2009, when Fujitsu Semiconductor switched to a proprietary fab-lite business model, it established a strong business relationship with TSMC, which produced various chips using 40nm process technology for the company. Nowadays, Fujitsu believes that it will be logical to transfer its 300mm line to a new foundry company, which is expected to be a joint-venture between Fujitsu and TSMC. The new company is supposed to gain TSMC’s process technologies (since fewer and fewer customers now want to manufacture anything at 65nm node) and offer foundry services to customers in Japan and from other countries. Such type of relationship is called technology-for-capacity and was used widely by numerous companies in the DRAM industry.
After the transfer of the 300mm line of the Mie Plant, Fujitsu Semiconductor's manufacturing facilities will consist primarily of the 200mm line in Mie, the 150mm line in Aizu-Wakamatsu and the 200mm line of Fujitsu Semiconductor Technology (FSET).