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 newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags processorshardware systemsComponentsUnited Microelectronics

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

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

Roam freely in the digital world. Critically acclaimed performance and security at your fingertips.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?