UMC revenue rise points to widespread semiconductor demand

Analysts see tablets as a big driver for chip demand, but UMC is more cautious

United Microelectronics (UMC), the world's second-largest contract chip maker, saw revenue for 2010 increase 35.9 percent over 2009. Robust demand for a range of consumer electronics including smartphones drove the growth.

Taiwan-based UMC said production of semiconductors brought in total net operating revenue of more than NT$120 billion (US$4.13 billion), reflecting business from makers of telecommunication equipment such as mobile phones. Computers and consumer electronics accounted for most of the rest.

"Tablets and smartphones, or related peripherals such as Wi-Fi, or related human interfaces such as display drivers, also touchpads, they're all doing pretty well," company CEO Sun Shih-wei told an investor conference.

A recovery in global demand for technology products last year, after a recession in 2009, has raised the income of Taiwan's other big manufacturers as well.

Tablets have already raised demand for semiconductors, with more to come, analysts believe. The rollout of Intel's second-generation Core microprocessors and competition from AMD's Fusion also require new motherboard chips.

"We're entering what seems to be another fresh tech up-cycle, and that's a reversal of trends from the past few years," said Wai Ho Leong, regional economist with Barclays Capital in Singapore. "It's going to be a launch year this year."

But chips for computers made up only 12 percent of UMC's overall sales last year, the company said, and it's too early to say where tablets are headed. "Tablets are still ramping up," Sun said. "They're still at an early stage. There are a lot of uncertainties."

UMC has ambitions this year to do more with its relatively advanced 40-nanometer foundry process for high-end chip designs, company officials said. Twenty products from 15 clients using chips from its 40 nanometer process are already being made on a large scale, they said.

The company expects to use 90 percent of its capacity in 2011. The current quarter's capacity should exceed the previous three, at about 1.26 million eight-inch wafer equivalents, UMC said.

UMC operates eight foundries in Taiwan and one in Singapore, plus a joint venture LED plant with supplier Epistar in China.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags United Microelectronicshardware systemsComponentsprocessors

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ralph Jennings

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?