Minister of SMEs and Startups Lee Young (third from left) pose for a photo with representatives of five fabless companies that will be offered multi-project-wafer services by Samsung Electronics foundry business at a ceremony held in Seoul Wednesday. (Ministry of SMEs and Startups)
Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor chip foundry business looks to help select smaller chip design houses to create prototypes and validate the pre-production concepts of their own chips.
According to the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, Samsung will offer multi-project wafer shuttle services to five fabless companies -- DeepX, GLS, SKAi Chips, Semibrain and Raontech -- with the government partially subsidizing the program. The five startups were chosen after a monthlong selection process.
Multi-project wafer shuttle services refer to a delivery of a single wafer that accommodates multiple chipmaking projects so that a chip designer can reduce costs by not using the entire wafer for design verification.
Each of the five companies will be offered 25 chances to book multi-project-wafer services across various technology nodes from August this year until July 2023.
Choi Si-young, president and head of foundry business at Samsung Electronics, said Samsung’s collaboration with a local fabless community is crucial to navigating uncertainties amid the fierce competition among global tech superpowers.
“While Korea’s system semiconductor industry has far to go to narrow the gap with global leaders, it is important to make a concerted effort involving fabless chip designers, foundry companies and small companies dedicated to materials, components and equipment and the government,” said Choi.
Minister of SMEs and Startups Lee Young lauded Samsung’s offer of the MPW shuttle program to fabless design firms as the first example of a collaboration of large and small companies since President Yoon Suk-yeol called for fair market environments for the co-existence of large firms and SMEs at an SME event in May.
Lee also vowed to continue to company’s financial support for domestic fabless companies, in addition to its current package of state funding and loan support for their research.