Tech

Foxconn buys automotive semiconductor factory

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The world’s largest electronics manufacturer Foxconn will produce its own computer chips in the future. For this purpose, Foxconn is taking over a semiconductor manufacturing facility from Macronix in Taiwan at a price of 2.52 billion Taiwan dollars (about 76.8 million euros). Macronix has been producing silicon carbide-based chips there – an important part of electric cars in Foxconn’s view.

The takeover of the chip factory in Hsinchu Science Park, where the world’s largest chip contract manufacturer TSMC is also headquartered completed this year as Foxconn explains in a company announcement. The Taiwanese “Hon Hai Technology Group”, known as Foxconn, is now able to manufacture its own semiconductors for the first time, instead of purchasing these components from other manufacturers in order to put them on their own circuit boards and further utilize them.

In this factory, Macronix uses silicon carbide (SiC) instead of ordinary silicon for its wafer production. Compared to one made of silicon, a SiC Mosfet is able to withstand an electrical field strength that is up to ten times higher and can achieve higher withstand voltages. This makes this material considered more powerful for certain tasks, including fast charging. Noisy Wall Street Journal Electric car specialist Tesla has been using silicon carbide components since 2018 and was thus one of the first in this branch.

According to Foxconn, electric cars have a high priority as part of corporate strategy. This now also includes the production of and with silicon carbide, as Foxconn explains. Sources at Foxconn have heise online confirmed the priority shifts within the company. The electric car sector is growing rapidly and needs more office space at the expense of other departments that are to move.

While Macronix is ​​giving up the chip factory for the production of six-inch wafers, the company will now concentrate on twelve-inch wafers in other production facilities as well as the research, development and manufacture of flash memory. In addition, Macronix expects closer cooperation with Foxconn.

According to the information, the chip factory taken over by Foxconn has sufficient capacity to be able to equip 30,000 vehicles per month. A 6-inch wafer should provide enough silicon carbide components for two vehicles. At the press conference, however, Foxconn did not want to answer whether Tesla should also be supplied with it. The two companies have not yet concluded a corresponding agreement.

Foxconn has recently been trying harder to get into business with the auto industry as a contract manufacturer. The company presented its own electric car platform and secured initial production deals with vehicle developers such as Fisker and Byton. Opel parent Stellantis also wants to cooperate with Foxconn.


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