Globalfoundries CEO Sanjay Jha and ES Jung, EVP & GM of Samsung Foundry, said that they were targeting FD-SOI technology as a low-cost alternative to FinFET .
The Chinese are dead keen on the FD-SOI process because it is much cheaper than FinFET and will help them get a foot in the door of the coming moves to automotive and AI chips . The backing of Globalfoundries and Samsung has enabled a more complete FD-SOI ecosystem to be developed.
Jha said FD-SOI technology will achieve greater success in China and Globalfoundries has been aggressively promoting its FD-SOI process in the region for the past year. The foundry currently offers its 22nm FD-SOI process (dubbed 22FDX) in China, and will bring a more advanced 12nm FD-SOI process (12FDX) to the market.
Jha also disclosed Globalfoundries will hold a "topping out" ceremony to celebrate a major milestone of the construction of its new 12-inch wafer plant in Chengdu at the end of October. The new fab will be ready for volume production in the second half of 2018, which will mark the beginning of Globalfoundries' expansion in China.
Samsung's Jung said his outfit was gearing up for advancing to its next-generation 18nm FD-SOI process technology. Samsung has launched its 28nm FD-SOI process designed specifically for IoT applications.
In addition, the higher cost of FD-SOI wafers has been identified as a bottleneck in the commercialization of FD-SOI process. The ongoing tight supply of 12-inch silicon wafers is another issue that could impact the supply of FD-SOI wafers. Both have drawn attention of China's FD-SOI industry supply chain.
Earlier in 2017, China's National Silicon Industry Group (NSIG) acquired a 14.5 percent stake in Soitec to secure enough FD-SOI wafer materials supplies. Other suppliers of FD-SOI wafers include Japan's Shin-Etsu, and Taiwan-based GlobalWafers, which has acquired US-based SunEdison Semiconductor.