Micron considers building DRAM fab in China

Memory maker Micron Technology has begun a risk assessment study to determine whether to build a wafer fabrication facility (fab) for DRAM (dynamic RAM) chips in China, according to a senior executive.

"China is probably the most significant and most serious of any risk assessment we are doing right now," said Michael Sadler, Micron's vice president of worldwide sales, speaking to IDG News Service on the sidelines of the ICT Asia Forum here.

The growth of Chinese demand for computing products in recent years has drawn the attention of vendors and manufacturers, including chip makers, several of which have invested heavily in test and assembly operations here.

In addition, a few foreign chip makers have invested in or built fabs here, such as Motorola Corp., which has a 200-millimeter wafer fab in Tianjin, China, and NEC Corp., which holds a stake in chip-maker Shanghai Huahong NEC Electronics Co. Ltd.

While Micron, of Boise, Idaho, is looking at building a fab in China, there are no plans to begin construction any time soon. "We're not close to making a decision," Sadler said.

"What would put us over the edge is not having access to the China market," Sadler said. "We're not convinced yet that strictly from a cost or capability standpoint it would be necessary for us to put a fab into China."

The ICT Asia Forum, which is being held in conjunction with the CeBIT Asia exhibition, runs through Thursday, Sept. 5.