United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has made no secret of its desire to make inroads into the Japanese automotive semiconductor market and by extension the Japanese car industry.
Just last week, the pure-play foundry invested in one of Fujitsu’s two new independent foundry subsidiaries--with one of the goals being to get the attention of automotive chipmakers in Japan.
Now, UMC said it is supplying New Japan Radio Co. Ltd. (NJR) analog chips to a major Tier-1 Japanese automotive supplier. UMC added that NJR’s power management IC (PMIC), used to control battery voltage in cars especially the idling stop control system, has also been adopted by a different, non-Japanese, Tier-1 automotive OEM.
Neither automotive OEM was disclosed.
Takaaki Murata, NJR’s director and manager, said in a statement the joint work UMC and NJR has put into these chips “meets the rigorous requirements of Japanese car OEMs” and that this combination will hopefully “open new markets in Japan and elsewhere.”
UMC and NJR have been getting closer in their relationship with the two recently signing an agreement to manufacture microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) microphones for the Japanese market. With a strong relationship with NJR already and a new investment and production capabilities in the Fujitsu foundry, UMC seems to be positioning itself to make a larger push to garner more Japanese auto wins.
J. H. Shyu, senior vice president of production and operation integration at UMC, didn’t shy away from that in the same statement, saying that UMC’s agreement with NJR has helped to “enter the tough Japanese automotive market” and as a result “UMC has broadened its horizons in the automotive IC sector.”
Shyu hinted that UMC wasn’t planning on stopping here as “we believe the benefits of UMC’s robust manufacturing will help contribute to other auto OEMs as well.”