Supply chain
Highlights of the day: The transformation of UMC
DIGITIMES staff

UMC, once a strong rival of TSMC in the pure-play foundry sector, has now quit the expensive race of advancing manufacturing nodes. UMC has redefined its roles, focusing on specialty segments. Digitimes recently talked to its co-presidents, the architects of the transformation, to understand more about the company's changes, plans and goals. Meanwhile, TSMC is clearly the market leader, with its 7nm production capacity running tight. Operation at TSMC's fab in Nanjing, China also returned to profitability in the third quarter. In the IT sector, notebook vendors have yet to determine the best way to avoid the US tariffs on China-imported products. A likely option is to hae China facilities do only the final assembly of notebooks.

A new chapter for UMC: Q&A with company co-presidents Jason Wang and SC Chien: UMC, once a major rival to TSMC in pursuing advanced manufacturing nodes, decided about two years ago to shift its focus away from joining the race to 10nm and more advanced process technologies. Now the pure-play foundry expects its renewed focus to start bearing fruit in 2020. Following two years of corporate adjustments, UMC has set new goals to be accomplished over the next five years, according to UMC co-president Jason Wang.

TSMC 7nm chip supply remains tight: TSMC continues to see its 7nm manufacturing processes run at full utilization, according to sources at fabless chipmakers who said new orders placed recently cannot be fulfilled at least until the middle of next year.

TSMC Nanjing swings to quarterly profit: TSMC Nanjing Company has reported its first quarterly profit for the third quarter, which narrowed its losses to NT$1.41 billion (US$46.1 million) in the first three quarters of 2019 from losses of NT$2.29 billion in the first half of the year.

Notebook brands mull new production practice to avoid tariffs:To avoid US tariffs on Chinese imports, notebook vendors are considering a new practice of manufacutring where only production lines in China will only handle the final assembly work, with key components and motherboards made in other countries, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

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