New probe card plant to buoy WinWay profits starting 2Q23

Julian Ho, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0


Taiwan's WinWay Technology, which provides high-end test sockets and other IC test interface solutions, expects its new probe card plant in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan to come online in the second quarter of 2023 and start profit contribution, according to company chairman Mark Wang.

Wang said IC test interfaces are playing an increasingly important role in supporting constant advancements of semiconductor design and production technologies, and WinWay continues to enjoy robust orders for high-end IC test sockets and vertical probe cards (VPC) as major clients keep rolling out new HPC chips and APs for 5G mmWave smartphones.

The company now has a monthly capacity of 3-3.5 million probing heads, and only a 25% in-house production rate, with the rest outsourced. But after the new Kaohisung plant enters volume production in second-quarter 2023, Wang's stressed, the monthly capacity will rise to 10 million pieces and in-house production rate will double to 50%, helping to lower production costs and boost market shares.

WinWay's chief financial officer Chen-kun Lee noted that its shipments will hit the year's peak in the third quarter with second-half 2022 performance to be better than the first half. The company's monthly sales hit new highs for two consecutive months in June and July, reaching NT$390 million (US$13 million) and NT$423 million, respectively. Industry sources estimated the company's 2022 revenues to exceed NT$3.5 billion to a new annual high.

The sources said WinWay has built close partnerships with major US vendors of CPU and GPU for coaxial sockets for final testing, and its VPC sales to first-tier IDMs and GPU suppliers have also ramped up significantly. It has also landed orders from MediaTek for test sockets for high-end mobile APs, the sources said.

The company's ratio of revenues from shipments for use in sub-7nm processes has risen to 67%, mostly associated with HPC chips. In terms of mature chip processes, it offers burn-in test sockets to Taiwan's first-tier suppliers of Wi-Fi 6/6E and even Wi-Fi 7 SoCs, as well as to suppliers of automotive chips, the sources added. .