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Photronics opens two new manufacturing facilities in China
Photronics says it will open two new manufacturing facilities in China to engage in R&D, manufacture and sale of photomasks, aiming to become a critical local supplier to the China IC and FPD industries.
The company will hold opening ceremonies for the IC facility in Xiamen on April 23 in Xiamen, China and the d FPD facility in Hefei, China on April 25. “A tremendous amount of hard work and dedication have contributed to this achievement. The teams in Xiamen and Hefei have gone above and beyond, ensuring that we reach this goal. In addition, the support we have received from local authorities and investment agreement partners has been remarkable. We are proud to play a part in the development of these industries in China, and look forward to future growth opportunities,” says said Peter Kirlin, chief executive officer, in a press release. “With the opening of these facilities, which are among the most advanced sites in our global network, we are the well on our way to extending our leadership position in the merchant mask market.” The new manufacturing facility in Xiamen, China is the result of a USD 160 million investment agreement with The Administrative Committee of Xiamen Torch Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone (Xiamen Torch), a national-level hi-tech zone in China, announced back in August 2016. The facility will support semiconductor manufacturing for a wide range of technologies and nodes in both logic and memory. Plans are for initial production to ramp quickly at 40nm and 28nm nodes, with process introduction leading to 14nm and beyond nodes shortly thereafter. The facility, Photronics DNP Mask Corporation Xiamen (PDMCX), is part of a joint venture between Photronics and Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP). The location in Xiamen was selected due to the established technology park, as well as being close to a large customer, and the existing supply chain infrastructure. A commitment by this large customer will enable the Xiamen facility to run at revenue levels that will produce at least break even profitability. Additional business, including other long-term purchase agreements, will push the factory further into profitability. When fully ramped, the company says that the facility will employ about 170 people, including a combination of manufacturing, engineering, sales, facilities, finance, and other support functions. The facility in Hefei is wholly owned and focused on the FPD industry. Created under a USD 160 million investment agreement formed in August 2017 with the Hefei State High-tech Industry Development Zone (High-tech Zone), a national-level high-tech zone in China, to establish a manufacturing facility in Hefei, China, the factory is equipped to support Generation 10.5+ (G10.5+) substrate production. With this investment, Photronics is the first producer of G10.5+ photomasks in China. The cleanroom is fully automated, and the facility will employ about 70 people in manufacturing and supporting functions. Panel producers in China are moving to adopt G10.5+ substrates for the manufacture of ultra-large screen TV panels. This form factor provides superior efficiency for 65” and 75” panels when compared with Generation 7.5 and Generation 8.5 substrates. China is already the largest producer of LCD panels and TVs, and their market share is expected to increase as more G10.5+ capacity comes online. In conjunction with the investment agreement, Photronics has obtained customer commitments from two of the largest domestic display manufacturers in China, which should help quickly fill the planned production capacity of the facility and enable profitability soon after startup.
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