SST UNVEILS EMBEDDED FLASH MEMORY PLAN TARGETING CHINA MARKET.
The Chinese semiconductor market is poised to show double-digit growth for the next several years. By 2004 China's semiconductor market will reach $21 billion, while the nonvolatile memory share of that market will double to reach $1.2 billion, as projected by market research firm Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc. This high level of expected growth comes on the heels of tremendous growth last year; China's semiconductor market grew by more than 35 percent and the nonvolatile memory portion of the China and Hong Kong markets posted triple digit growth of 108 percent. With many of the world's leading consumer electronic and PC vendors continuing to increase their electronic systems manufacturing in China, SST is well-poised to become a preferred technology supplier and design services source by addressing the growing need for embedded flash IP.
"We are addressing a great but under-served market which has not had easy access to our embedded flash in the past," said Bing Yeh, president and CEO of SST. "Our partnership with Chinese wafer foundries such as SMIC and GSMC together with our core competency of providing robust and effective embedded flash memory will, for the first time, allow Chinese design firms to benefit from the best-in-class embedded flash solution for the broad electronics market. The potentially huge volume of electronic goods to be produced in China, such as smart card ICs, national ID cards, video games, education toys, audio/video consumer entertainment products and telecommunication equipment, require a proven and widely available nonvolatile memory technology. SST is working with Chinese firms to take advantage of this huge market potential, and our announcement ... is the first step in that direction," Yeh continued.
SST had announced earlier this year a $10 million (USD) investment to form SST China, a wholly owned subsidiary in Shanghai. SST China's charter, in addition to the new initiative announced recently, will be to develop and sell flash memory, ROM/RAM combo and embedded controller products in the Chinese marketplace. These products, specifically in the application-specific memory and embedded flash product areas, will be designed through collaboration with design houses in China and manufactured by China's leading foundries, including SMIC and GSMC. SST also announced earlier this year a $50 million (USD) equity investment in GSMC, an advanced deep sub-micron foundry currently under construction in Shanghai.
"[The] announcement of our plan to collaborate with local design houses to address the Chinese market in a strategic and focused way is a beginning step for SST China," said Paul Lui, SST's vice president and head of the SST China operation. "Our embedded flash memory technology is a better choice than traditional EEPROM technology for integrating high-density, low-power, lower-cost and highly reliable nonvolatile memories into SoC (system-on-a-chip) products such as smart card ICs and other ASIC designs. Chinese design houses have not been able to access this technology in the past. Our newly announced services will level the playing field for them."
SST's SuperFlash technology is a NOR type, split-gate cell architecture which uses a reliable thick-oxide process with fewer manufacturing steps resulting in a low-cost, nonvolatile memory solution with excellent data retention and higher reliability. The split-gate NOR SuperFlash architecture facilitates a simple and flexible design suitable for high performance, high reliability, small or medium sector size, in- or off-system programming and a variety of densities, all in a single CMOS-compatible technology.