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Industry insiders have revealed that Samsung is partnering with United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) to develop high voltage speciality technologies based on 22nm process. UMC has confirmed that its 22nm high voltage platform is indeed in development, but declined to name the clients. 

Ever since quitting the race to pursue advanced process nodes in 2018, UMC has switched its focus onto speciality technologies, such as its BCD processes for power ICs and embedded High Voltage (eHV) technology for display driver ICs. 

It is believed that the 22nm high voltage process will see its first application on Samsung’s newest OLED driver ICs, with trial production beginning in Q1 2022. 

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As Samsung remains iPhone’s largest supplier of OLED displays, it means that UMC will play a crucial role in Apple’s newest generation of iPhones. In fact, experts believe that only Samsung has the capability to use the 22nm process at this stage. As of 2020, the South Korean electronics conglomerate leads the global OLED market with a 50.4% share, followed by Magnachip and Siliconworks – also South Korean companies. 

The cooperation with Samsung has certainly boosted UMC’s competitiveness, as fears have recently risen that China’s increasing focus on mature process nodes will erode UMC’s market share in the long term, as China accounts for 16% of UMC’s revenues. With the United States mulling to further sanction the mature process technology of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), it only complicates the competitive landscape faced by UMC. 

 

Source: UDN