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Jan 31st, 2014
YOLE believed it, SONY made it: Sony establishes Yamagata Technology Center to increase production capacity for CMOS Image Sensors
Sony has just announced that it has acquired the Tsuruoka Factory semiconductor-related assets held by Renesas Yamagata Semiconductor Co., Ltd. SCK Yamagata TEC will serve as a new 300mm production site for CMOS image sensors. This planned investment forms part of Sony's mid- to long-term plan to increase its total production capacity for image sensors from the current capacity of approximately 60,000 300mm wafers per month, to approximately 75,000 300mm wafers per month. That means a 25% increase of Sony CIS production capacity!
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The total investment amount is expected to be approximately 35 billion yen, comprising of:
  • Approximately 7.5 billion yen to acquire Renesas Yamagata Semiconductor's Tsuruoka Factory assets in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014 ("FY13")
  • Approximately 27.5 billion yen for planned capital investment to be carried out during FY14-FY15.
As Yole Développement anticipated it in its last release of the Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry report (Released in January 2014), this announcement is another confirmation of the strong move in the CIS markets from major players such as SONY”, explains Jean-Christophe Eloy, President & CEO, Yole Développement. This company currently pushes other companies to a fablight/fabless strategy. And indeed, this evolution has started already with companies like Aptina and STMicroelectronics.

In December 2013, another fact hit the current CIS supply chain: TowerJazz signed a definitive agreement creating JV with Panasonic Corp. to acquire its 3 semiconductor factories in Japan, & to manufacture Panasonic and additional products, getting access to key knowledge and equipment. This agreement is likely to reinforce TowerJazz's positioning into the CIS industry as a major foundry player for niche applications, allowing the other CIS companies to get access to volume production.

Yole Développement believes the re-organization of the CMOS Image Sensor industry will see the emergence of major IDMs companies such as SONY (with very strong investment, manufacturing and R&D capabilities), specialized foundries such as TowerJazz, and many challengers pushed in niche applications and to fabless model. All the details of such reorganization of the industry are detailed in new report published by Yole, Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry, 2014 edition.



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