GLOBALFOUNDRIES® (GF®), the global leader in feature-rich semiconductor manufacturing, and GlobalWafers Co., Ltd. (GWC), one of the top silicon wafer manufacturers in the world, recently announced an $800 million agreement to add 300mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer manufacturing and expand existing 200mm SOI wafer production at GWC’s MEMC facility in O’Fallon, Missouri.
The silicon wafers produced by GWC are key input materials for semiconductors and an integral part of GF’s supply chain. The wafers are used in GF’s multi-billion dollar manufacturing facilities, or fabs, where they are used to manufacture the computer chips that are pervasive and vital to the global economy. Today’s announcement expands GF’s domestic silicon wafer supply from the United States.
In particular, the 300mm wafers made at GWC’s MEMC site in Missouri will be used at GF’s most advanced manufacturing facility, Fab 8 in Malta, New York, and the 200mm wafers made at the Missouri site will be used at GF’s Fab 9 in Essex Junction, Vermont. These wafers will be used to create feature-rich semiconductor solutions to meet the sharply growing demand for GF’s advanced RF technologies across a range of applications including 5G smartphones, wireless connectivity, automotive radar, and aerospace.
The long-term agreement includes nearly $210 million in capital expenditures to expand GWC’s MEMC facility in Missouri, and will create more than 75 new jobs. The 300mm pilot line is on track to be completed in Q4 this year. The agreement is strengthened by $9.4 million in investments and support from the State of Missouri, as well as support from the City of O’Fallon, Ameren Missouri, Spire, and Greater St. Louis, Inc.
GF is investing $1.4 billion in 2021 alone to expand its manufacturing capacity, to meet the needs of customers and address the growing global demand for computer chips. As part of this growth, GF will require an increased supply of wafers like those made by GWC. GWC is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of 200mm SOI wafers and has a long and ongoing relationship with GF for supplying 200mm SOI wafers. In February 2020, GWC and GF announced intentions to collaborate closely to significantly expand GWC’s existing 300mm SOI wafer manufacturing capacity. Today’s announcement signals a significant step forward in that collaboration.
Today’s announcement comes at a time when the United States is seeking to fortify and expand its semiconductor supply chain, which enables the $91 trillion world economy. Only 12 percent of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity is in the United States. Critical to increasing the number of chips manufactured in the U.S., and making U.S. chip manufacturing more globally competitive, are federal investments like those enabled by the bipartisan-supported U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the already passed CHIPS for America Act.
“Semiconductors are critical to our national security and economic competitiveness,” said U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, an instrumental supporter of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. “The supply chain of these computer chips is highly complex and largely dominated by other countries. We need to begin making more chips at home to protect U.S. industries from chip shortages like we have seen in recent months. Today’s announcement is good news for semiconductor manufacturing and will create steady, good-paying, high-tech jobs for Missourians.”
“As a trusted semiconductor manufacturer and supplier to the U.S. government, and the world leader in RF semiconductor technology, GF has been leading the charge to accelerate U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and boost our capacity to meet the growing global demand for chips,” said GF CEO Tom Caulfield. “The kind of partnership we are announcing today with GWC is only possible thanks to Congressional leadership and the renewed national interest in growing U.S. semiconductor manufacturing capacity.”
“We are proud to deepen our strategic partnership with GF, and to expand our important role in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain,” said Doris Hsu, Chairman and CEO of GWC. “We thank the State of Missouri for its support. We also thank our incredible O’Fallon team, whose dedication and hard work have enabled our success and growth. We look forward to ramping up our 300mm pilot line this year, and accelerating our build-out with GF.”
“We’re proud to see a Missouri business step up to address the critical semiconductor need we are seeing in countless industries all across our state and nation,” said Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “MEMC’s expansion will strengthen the global semiconductor supply chain, promote American manufacturing, and support good-paying jobs right here in Missouri.”
“For more than six decades, we have been the home of MEMC and its manufacturing of world class silicon wafers,” said O’Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy. “O’Fallon takes pride in providing a business and family-friendly environment with a high quality of life that supports MEMC’s success. We are thrilled by this new partnership between GlobalWafers and GLOBALFOUNDRIES and the positive impact it will have on our city, state and nation.”
GF employs more than 7,000 people across the U.S. Over the past 12 years the company has invested $15 billion in U.S. semiconductor development, and it is doubling its planned investment in 2021 to expand global capacity and support growing demand from the U.S. government and industry customers for secure processing and connectivity applications.