Siliconware Precision Industries Ltd.



123 Chung Shan Road, Section 3, Tantzu Hsiang
Taichung 427
Taiwan
Telephone: +886 4 2534 1525
Fax: +886 4 2534 6278
Web site: http://www.spil.com.tw

Public Company
Incorporated: 1984
Employees: 10,613
Sales: TWD 35.25 billion ($1.11 billion) (2004)
Stock Exchanges: Taiwan NASDAQ
Ticker Symbol: SPIL
NAIC: 334412 Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing

Siliconware Precision Industries Ltd. (SPIL) is the number two integrated circuit (IC) packager in Taiwan (behind Advanced Semiconductor Engineering) and the number three worldwide (behind Amkor Technology). Based in Taipei, SPIL offers turnkey IC packaging and testing services to many of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers—including Intel, for which SPIL is a Preferred Quality Supplier. SPIL services include packaging consultation, design, and simulation; wafering, sorting, and assembly; and final testing and burn-in, as well as direct shipment. The company also offers testing services separately from its packaging operations. Packaging represents the largest part of the company's business, however, at more than 95 percent of revenues of $1.1 billion in 2004. SPIL operates three production facilities in Taiwan. SPIL's substrate and lead frame packaging capabilities cover the wide range of IC product applications, including PCs, cameras, modems, cellular phones, PDAs, and LCD and plasma screens. SPIL was established in 1984 by a group led by Bough Lin, and is listed on both the Taiwan Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. Bough Lin serves as executive vice-president and chairman, while Chi Wen Tsai acts as CEO.

IC Packager in the 1980s

Siliconware Precision Industries Ltd. had its roots in another prominent Taiwanese IC company, Lingsen Precision, which had been launched in the 1950s to provide IC assembly services to the local electronics industry. IC assemblers served as a mid-step between the semiconductor manufacturers and electronic appliance developers, receiving unfinished semiconductors, testing them, and then packaging them for specific applications.

In 1984, Bough Lin, Chung Li Lin, and C.W. Tsai led a group of former engineers from Lingsen in the formation of a new company specialized in IC assembly packaging in Taichung. That company became Siliconware Precision Industries Ltd., or SPIL. From the start, SPIL focused primarily on servicing the packaging requirements of fellow Taiwanese United Microelectronics Corporation. That company was to remain SPIL's largest client until well into the 1990s.

SPIL set up a factory at Taichung and began packaging production by the end of 1984. The company initially specialized in the simpler Plastic Dual In-Line Packages (PDIP) format. The company continued to develop its technologies, however, in order to enter higher value-added packaging segments. As part of this effort, the company opened its second production facility, at Tan Fu, in 1987. The completion of that plant in 1988 enabled the company to extend its operations into new packaging areas, such as Small Outline Plastics (SOP). By 1990, SPIL had expanded its engineering technologies, and in that year launched production of Quad Flat Packages (QFP). Other higher-end packaging sectors added by the company included Plastic Lead Chip Carrier Packages (PLCC) and, beginning in 1992, Enhanced QFP. In that year, as well, SPIL received ISO 9002 certification.

SPIL's technology extension was matched to an ambitious expansion strategy that was to lift the company to the rank of the number two IC packaging company in Taiwan by the mid-1990s. Vertical integration, as well as expansion of the company's production capacity and technology, formed the major features of the company's growth plans. In 1992, SPIL made a first step, when it acquired a stake in High-Tech, a manufacturer of lead frames, a raw material in the packaging process. In that year, as well, the company bought a shareholding in Vate Technology, which provided testing services.

SPIL stepped up its expansion in 1993, backed by an initial public offering (IPO) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange that year. The company's IPO was highly successful, and SPIL became one of the most favored technology stocks on the Taiwan Stock Exchange through the 1990s. Concurrent with its IPO, the company extended its operations to the United States for the first time, opening Siliconware USA in San Jose, California.

The company's IPO backed a brief but important acquisition drive. In 1993, the company acquired three fellow IC assemblers, Talent Electronics, Taicera, and More Power Electronics, boosting the company's range of technologies and its production capacity. Also that year, SPIL enhanced its in-house testing component, acquiring Silicon Ware Corporation, which specialized in IC testing.

These acquisitions enabled SPIL to begin offering turnkey IC packaging and testing services by 1994. The company extended its packaging technologies to include new quad flat packaging applications, including LQFP in 1994 and TQFP by 1996. By then, the company had completed construction of its second production facility, Da Fong. Construction on the plant was launched in October 1994, and quadrupled the company's capacity, including space enough to add more than 600 wire bonders. The Da Fong site also became the company's headquarters in 1995.

IC Packaging Leader in the New Century

SPIL by then had claimed the number two IC packaging spot in Taiwan, behind leader Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE). Unlike ASE, which targeted the global IC market, SPIL for the most part focused on the local Taiwanese market through the 1990s. The rapid growth of Taiwan's technology sector, which by then had become one of the world's most important centers for IT and semiconductor development, gave SPIL a strong basis for continued growth.

SPIL continued to enhance its technologies as well, adding next-generation packaging capacity for technologies such as Ball Grid Arrays (BGA), starting with PBGA in 1996. In 1998, the company extended its range of assemblies to include the full spectrum of BGA assemblies. In that year, as well, the company launched production of new Multi Chip Modules (MCM). Also in that year, SPIL gained QS 9000 and ISO 9001 certification. By then, the company's total wire bonder capacity neared 850, placing it among the world's top five IC assembly subcontractors.

Of importance, SPIL continued to invest in adding new technologies by acquiring stakes in a number of assembly and testing companies, including two major IC substrate specialists, Unimicron Technology and Phoenix Precision Technology; ChipMOS, which specialized in LCD driver and memory assemblies; testing specialist Kyec, and others, including Artest, Caesar Technology, and Sigurd. In 1997, the company launched a partnership with Abpac, which operated an advanced IC packaging facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Also in 1997, the company's U.S. subsidiary added a technology center there in 1997. In this way, the company kept pace with new industry developments.

Entering the 2000s, SPIL inaugurated a new production facility at Chung Shan. The addition of the new capacity helped boost the group's total wire bonding capacity to 3,000 by 2005. The new facility enabled the company to add new technologies as well. In 2001, for example, the company licensed Kulicke & Soffa Industries' Flip Chip Technologies wafer bumping and redistribution processes. By then, the company had completed a secondary public offering, listing its shares on the NASDAQ.

SPIL boosted its production capacity again in 2002, when it broke ground on a new plant in Suzhou, the fast-growing "high-tech" city in mainland China's Jiangsu Province. The new capacity allowed SPIL to extend its technology expertise into new-generation, high-end packaging sectors, such as TCP (tape carrier package), TAB (tape automated bonding), and the small form-factor CSP (chip scale packaging) technologies.

Company Perspectives:

Siliconware is dedicated to being your preferred Package assembly and test solution provider.

Key Dates:

1984:
SPIL is founded by Bough Lin, Chung Li Lin, and C.W. Tsai in Taiwan to provide IC packaging and testing services for United Microelectronics Corporation.
1988:
The company opens a new plant in Tan Fu and begins extension into higher value-added packaging sectors.
1992:
The company begins an investment program in order to gain technology expertise, buying shares in lead frame manufacturer High Tech and IC testing company Vate Technology.
1993:
SPIL lists shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange; a U.S. subsidiary is launched; the company acquires IC assemblers Taicera, Talent Electronics, and More Power Electronics, and testing company Silicon Ware Corp.
1995:
The company opens a new production facility and headquarters at Da Fong.
1997:
The company opens a Technology Center at its U.S. subsidiary; a technology partnership is formed with Abpac in Phoenix, Arizona.
2000:
SPIL lists shares on the NASDAQ.
2002:
The company opens its first foreign production plant in Suzhou, mainland China.
2005:
The company wins Intel's Preferred Quality Supplier Award.

SPIL's growth continued into the mid-2000s. An important feature of the company's growth was its shifting focus from a reliance on the Taiwan market to an increasing position in international markets. A primary example of this extension was the launch of the company's involvement with Intel Corporation. By 2005, the company had become a Preferred Quality Supplier, winning an award from Intel that year. With sales of TWD 35 billion ($1.1 billion), SPIL appeared certain to remain among the world's leading IC packaging and testing companies.

Principal Subsidiaries

Siliconware Investment Company Ltd.; Siliconware Technology (Suzhou) Ltd. (China); Siliconware USA Inc. (U.S.A.); SPIL (BVI) Holding Ltd. (British Virgin Islands); SPIL (Cayman) Holding Ltd. (Cayman Islands).

Principal Competitors

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc.; Amkor Technology Inc.; Kyec Electronics Co. Ltd.; Micro-Star International Company Ltd.; Agere Systems Singapore Private Ltd.; Sichuan Changhong Electric Company Ltd.; Intel Microelectronics Phils Inc.; Mosel Vitelic Corporation; MiTAC Technology Corporation; Silicon Integrated Systems Corporation; Behaviour Tech Computer Corporation.

Further Reading

Levine, Bernard, "Siliconware USA, Inc.," Electronic News , June 8, 1998, p. 55.

"Siliconware Precision Expanding IC Packaging Capacity," Taiwan Economic News , April 16, 2002.

"Siliconware Precision Sees Revenue Continue Growing," Taiwan Economic News , March 15, 2002.

"Top Two Taiwanese Chip Assemblers Hit New High Revenues in Nov.," Taiwan Economic News , December 12, 2003.

—M.L. Cohen



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