Taiwan chipmaker UMC to scale down China project

Company wants to avoid repercussions from the U.S.: Nikkei Asian Review

Taiwanese chipmaker UMC.

Taiwanese chipmaker UMC. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC, 聯華電子) will downsize its Chinese chip project to avoid charges from the United States, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Friday.

The company will move almost half its DRAM team within the company in a first step toward ending its memory chip development department, while the Fujian Jinhua (福建晉華) project in China is to be dismantled, the Japanese publication said.

Late last year, the company already reported a downsizing of a department in Tainan whose task it was to assist Fujian Jinhua, reports said. Out of the department’s 300 staff, 140 were moved to new functions within UMC, but others were let go.

The company denied there was question of disbanding the unit and told the Nikkei it was only a temporary suspension, while refusing to supply any details about personnel moves.

The Nikkei speculated that UMC might be worried it would be open to more sanctions from the U.S. and eventually to losing orders if it continued an intensive technological cooperation project with a Chinese company.

Last October, the Trump Administration cut off Fujian Jinhua from U.S. suppliers amid allegations that the firm was involved in stealing intellectual property from Micron Technology of the U.S.