Over the past few years the Brazilian technology industry has tried to deploy a semiconductor factory to operate on a commercial scale, but until the present day just a few have succeeded. In this article we will show who the semiconductor manufacturers are in Brazil.
Plans for implementing a large superconductor factory in Brazil started in the early 2000’s, when it was expected to bring Japanese investors to the country with the deployment of digital TV. Later the companies pulled back on the decision of taking the negotiations forward. Throughout the following years the Brazilian technology industry was filled with rumours of upcoming semiconductor manufacturing facilities. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the country already had a few of these factories, which used the technology that was current for the time, but they were later deactivated at the beginning of the 1990’s.
The Brazilian Federal Government is still making extensive investments in order to draw attention from companies to invest in the production of semiconductors in the country. Such companies are already exempt from all federal taxes, such as PIS, COFINS and ISS, and in some states such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo a discount on municipality taxes is also offered. Brazil invests 1.4% of its GNP on the technology, science and innovation sector, of which 0.54% comes from private investments. The semiconductor market revenue in Brazil is nearly BRL 1 billion.
The electronic industry in Brazil uses components that are mainly imported, which tends to increase the prices for consumers and make the country more dependent on technology from other nations. Brazil spends around USD 6 billion per year on importing semiconductors. Since there is still uncertainty in this market in Brazil, companies tend to act carefully before deploying any undertaking, which can initially cost around BRL 4 billion. Although it is stated by specialists that to successfully implement this kind of facility, larger investments in education and preparation of professionals to work in this area are also required. Brazil already has research centers working on the design of semiconductors, which are manufactured abroad or in existing local factories.
Main Manufacturers in Brazil
There are currently a few players producing semiconductors in Brazil, but they are still far from making a significant impact on the industry. A recent deployment is expected to diminish Brazil’s dependency on imported components. The manufacturing process in the country still makes use of older and outdated technologies, which chips produced with a 600 nanometers process when compared to the global technologies which are able to manufacture a 10 nanometers process.
Founded in 2014, the HT Micron facility was constructed as part of a joint venture with Hana Micron, a South Korean company, and by the Parit Participações em Inovação e Tecnologia S/A group. The facility is specialized in the manufacturing, development and testing of semiconductor components.
HT Micron manufactures:
- Smart cards
- NAND Flash for Micro SD cards, flash drives and SSD drives
- MCP, Multi-chip package, which is integrated circuits for cellphones
Located in the city of São Leopoldo, inside the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, which is a partner in the infrastructure implementation, the company had initial investments of BRL 110 million, with additional BRL 260 million invested during the following years of operation. The facility is expected to achieve the capacity for manufacturing 360 million chips per year.
Ceitec is a government organization linked to the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry focused on developing and producing integrated circuits for RFID and other specific applications. Located in the city of Porto Alegre, the company also has design centers. Created in 2008, Ceitec had the purpose to position the country in the global microelectronics market, and nowadays the facility is capable of manufacturing 70 million chips per year.
Ceitec manufactures specific sensors for commercial use on large scales such as cattle control chips and for product tracking. The project also researches chips for traffic management, passports, IDs and digital TV modulators.
Formerly known as SIX Semicondutores S.A., Unitec is the first private semiconductor factory in the Southern hemisphere to work through the entire manufacturing process. Located in the city of Ribeirão das Neves, the project is estimated to have had an investment of BRL 1 billion and is expected to start its operations in the second semester of 2015. Unitec will be able to manufacture chips using processes ranging from 130 and 90 nanometers.
The first products manufactured will be smart cards for banks, telephone operators and public transport companies, with capacity for 360 wafers per day. Unitec will attend specific shares on the market with customized integrated circuits and is partnered with global company IBM.
SMART Modular Technologies
Located in the city of Atibaia, the North-American company has been operating in Brazil since 2005 applying extensive investment in the semiconductor market. The facility works in the back end on the manufacturing process, operating the encapsulation of semiconductors and memory mounting. The company’s target is the market of microcomputers, servers, mobile devices and optical media devices.
Currently, SMART manufacturers the following components:
- SSD drives
- Memory modules for mobile devices, such as eSSD, MCP and iNAND
- Integrated circuits for Flash and DRAM memory
- Encapsuling and testing of semiconductors