Globalfoundries sees growth in mobility segment

Personal computing and mobile devices convergence make up majority of microprocessor foundry's portfolio, say execs who add that Thai floods haven't affected its business.

SINGAPORE--Increasing demand for mobile devices worldwide is driving Globalfoundries' growth, says the microprocessor foundry's CEO, who reveals that the convergence of PC and mobile computing makes up a large portion of its business.

At a media briefing here Friday, Globalfoundries CEO Ajit Manocha, said consumer demand for mobile devices worldwide had spurred the growth of the company's mobility business segment.

He also highlighted the convergence of traditional computing devices and mobile devices, noting that 55 percent of Globalfoundries' business come from such converged devices while the remaining portion are derived from telecommunications and other devices.

Other growing sectors include microcontrollers which are used in various appliances such as automobiles and near-field communication, added Manocha, who was appointed as the company's permanent CEO last month, after serving five months as interim CEO.

At 68 percent, a majority of the company's portfolio is in mainstream 55nanonmeter (nm) to 65nm microprocessors, as well as "leading-edge" processors that are 45nm or smaller, he said. Another 21 percent are in 90nm to 180nm microprocessors, and 11 percent in microprocessors larger than 180nm which are used in mature technologies.

According to Manocha, the company is the first foundry to ship "hundreds of thousands units" of 32nm High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) when competing foundries have yet to ship even in the low thousand-unit mark. HKMG-powered end-products manufactured by Globalfoundries' customers are already on the shelf, in high-end netbooks and notebooks, he added.

Asked if tablets were eating into the PC market, the CEO said both segments were growing but PCs were seeing slower growth rates compared to tablets.

Thai floods unlikely to cause chip oversupply
While the recent floods in Thailand were expected to stunt PC supply, Raj Kumar, Globalfoundries' general manager of Singapore and senior vice president for the 200nm business unit, said there would unlikely be an oversupply of chips--when operations returned to normal--as most of Globalfoundries' customers did not have factory operations in Thailand and, hence, would be unaffected by the floods. The foundry microprocessor foundry also does not have a plant in Thailand.

That said, Manocha added that the company had not done any assessment on the impact the Thai floods would have on its business, and acknowledged there typically would be concerns such natural disasters would cause disruptions to the supply chain--similar to that of Japan's earthquake earlier this year.

The CEO said the company's globally distributed fabs are located in Germany, Singapore and New York, and this helps mitigate risks from natural disasters.

This April, IM Flash opened a NAND flash memory facility in Singapore. Asked about the competition, Manocha said the new facility--a joint venture between Intel and Micron Technology--did not compete with Globalfoundries as its supplies for its own needs while Globalfoundries is a pure-play foundry.