With this deal the Korean chip giant can use STMicroelectronics’ FD-SOI process to produce chips on the S1 line that produces 28-nanometer chips at its Giheung factory, south of Seoul.
Samsung said FD-SOI will allow it to produce more integrated chips with less power leakage.
The company has produced 32-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips for STMicroelectronics since 2012.
This move follows another strategic play by Samsung last month when a new alliance with GlobalFoundries licenses 14-nanometer process technology to the US-based chip maker. It said clients demanding 14-nanometer can now multisource and approach either firm for foundry.
Samsung has been increasing global partnerships with other chip makers - both fabless (chip companies without factories) and foundries - to increase its competitive position in its contract production business. Market watchers say the cooperation is mostly aimed at curbing Taiwanese contract chip maker TSMC’s dominance. The Taiwanese business, meanwhile, is investing in 16-nanometer chip production.
According to IC Insights, TSMC was ranked first in foundry last year with $19.85 billion in sales, while Samsung was ranked fifth with $3.95 billion.
Samsung is betting hard on smaller-scaled chips in the 10 and 20-nanometer classes to gain a larger client base in the coming years. It has cozied up to graphic chip maker Nvidia since 2012, while its biggest client is arch-rival Apple.
Samsung is currently producing Apple’s upcoming A8 processor at its factory in Texas, and it is also expected to produce the next-generation A9 chip.
Source: ZDNet Korea (www.zdnet.co.kr)