UMC announced it will skip the 20nm node to jump directly to 14nm FinFET. World's second-largest foundry, a title it took back from GlobalFoundries, aims to have 14nm FinFET tapeouts available for customers by Q4 2015.
UMC currently has over 20 customers on the 28nm node, which accounted for 9 percent of its revenue in Q1 2015, up from 7 percent the quarter before. During the firm's earnings call, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Dan Heyler asked management why UMC's 28nm process ramps up so slow. He explained a normal ramp would be three to four quarters to get to 20 percent revenue, whereas UMC is now ramping for four quarters just to get to 9 percent. UMC replied it's been working on a wide range of 28nm products for low power and high performance to meet customer needs and added it's now achieving yields of around 90 percent for low power 28nm chips.
The Hsinchu, Taiwan company’s most advanced 28nm products accounted for 9% of its first-quarter revenue this year, ramping up from 7% in the fourth quarter last year as UMC gains a foothold in the technology node that larger rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has dominated for nearly five years.
UMC will skip 20nm products and target 14 nm FinFET as its next technology node to catch up with foundry rivals Samsung and TSMC. Samsung started making 14nm FinFET chips earlier this year while TSMC plans to begin commercial production of 16nm FinFET products in mid-2015.