Rather than joining the 14nm race, UMC has made the decision to focus on 18nm as the foundry is unlikely to meet its 14nm FinFET goals. DigiTimes reports UMC is having difficulty to get its 14nm FinFET process on track and that the company has decided to offer 18nm as a cheaper, less complex alternative.
Meanwhile, UMC decided to develop a 18nm process for IC design houses which might be looking for a cheaper alternative to 14nm FinFET process, the sources noted. UMC plans to initally have monthly capacity of 10,000 12-inch wafers to be fabricated on the 18nm process, the sources said.
The intention of having its joint-venture 12-inch fab in Xiamen, China be qualified for the manufacture of 28nm chips are another reason behind UMC's decision to move to 18nm, the sources indicated. UMC is not allowed to invest in its most advanced process technology at the China fab according to Taiwan's laws and regulations.
The site also notes UMC is speeding up efforts to clear legal hurdles to offer 28nm production at its joint-venture 12-inch fab in Xiamen, China, despite previous claims it would keep its 28nm and 14nm processes in Taiwan.