You may know the name Foxconn as the electronics manufacturer of many electronic devices, but probably most notably the iPhone. The chipmaker is also making chips for electric vehicles, and a wholly owned subsidiary, Big Innovations Holdings Limited (BIH), is setting up a new plant in Malaysia for the effort. It will be a joint venture with Dagang NeXchange Berhad (DNeX).
According to the announcement, both companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build and operate a new 12-inch wafer fabrication plant in the country. The location of the plant has not yet been announced, nor have the amount that either company will be investing into the project. But under the MoU, both companies will decide on a location for the plant, as well as its financing and initial management structure.
When the facility is up and running, it is “expected to produce 40000 wafers per month, encompassing the manufacturing of 28nm and 40nm technologies”. According to a report by Nikkei Asia, these are most widely used tech for microcontrollers, sensors, driver integrated circuits and connectivity-related chips. Also mentioned in the report is an estimation of between US$3 billion (~RM13.2 billion) to US$5 billion (~RM22 billion) for the project, citing chip industry executives.
As an aside, the report also mentions that Foxconn owns about a five percent stake in DNeX, with one seat on its board. As DNeX is the parent company of Silterra, this also gives the Taiwanese chipmaker indirect control over the latter’s 8-inch chip plant. This follows a lost bidding war between the two over SilTerra.
Separately, The Edge Markets reports that SilTerra has excess land in Kulim, Kedah, where it is headquartered. This could fit another wafer plant, making it a possible location for the new joint venture facility between BIH and DNeX.
This joint venture follows Foxconn partnering up with Indonesia to develop the latter’s EV ecosystem. Granted, it’s nowhere close in scope.