Taiwan fab toolmakers secure LTAs from China

Monica Chen, Hsinchu; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES Asia 0


Taiwan-based semiconductor equipment suppliers including Gudeng Precision Industrial, E&R Engineering, Marketech International, Nova Technology (Novatech) and Taiwan Mask have struck long-term supply agreements with Chinese chipmakers focusing on mature process manufacturing, according to industry sources.

Chinese chipmakers are having difficulty procuring fab gear, with Taiwan-based vendors reaping the benefits, the sources indicated. The US is tightening export restrictions on China's chipmaking industry, which has turned its attention to process manufacturing at 28nm and above.

Gudeng, a semiconductor front-end equipment manufacturer mainly specializing in mask solution products, has secured a ramp-up in orders from Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) and other Chinese chip customers, the sources said.

Despite headwinds facing the chipmaking sector, Gudeng remains bullish about its revenue growth this year, company chairman Bill Chiu was quoted as saying in previous reports. The fab tool supplier expects its revenue to exceed NT$6.5 billion (US$211.1 million) in 2023 and rise further to top the NT$10 billion mark in 2025.

Novatech, which specializes in chemical and gas equipment used in the semiconductor and display industries, disclosed recently that its order backlog had surpassed NT$11 billion. The company has seen strong demand from customers in China and Taiwan eager to expand their fab capacities.

SMIC and Nexchip are reportedly among Novatech's major customers.

According to photomask specialist Taiwan Mask, the company's focus on demand for mature manufacturing nodes at 40nm and above enables it to mitigate the impact of rising geopolitical risks. Taiwan Mask expects its revenue to surge 30% on year and exceed NT$10 billion in 2023, boosted by growing sales of its products supporting 12-inch wafer fabrication.

SMIC and Huahong are reportedly among Taiwan Mask's Chinese customers.