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Worried that it will be left behind by competitive European and Japanese industry-government initiatives, the US semiconductor consortium Sematech has expanded its international efforts, and formed a new subsidiary called International Sematech. The new body which includes Hyundai Electronics Industries Co, Philips Electronics NV, SGS Thomson NV, Siemens AG and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, will begin operations in Austin, Texas on April 2nd. The effort, which increases Sematech’s annual operating budget from $125m to $160m, builds on the International 300mm Initiative it started back in 1996 (CI No 2,792). At the time that effort included two more members, LG Semicon Co and Samsung Electronics Co, who have not joined up this time due to the financial crisis in their home markets. Under its new title, the group will broaden its remit from advancing wafer sizes to 300m or 12 , and will also work on lithography infrastructure. Both, says Sematech, are real show-stopper activities that no single company or country can now afford to take on by itself. Environmental issues and standards will also be addressed by the group, which will encompass around 150 of Sematech’s total headcount of around 670 staff. Semi/Sematech, the related organization of some 200 US equipment and materials suppliers, is expected to support the effort, which Sematech believes will offer US suppliers to the semiconductor industry access to a larger customer base. Meanwhile, Japanase suppliers are sticking with their own organizations, Selete for 300mm wafers and Aset for lithography, while Europe has poured $2.5bn into its own four year Media Microelectronics Developments for European Application effort, the successor to Jessi, the Joint European Sub-micron Semiconductor Initiative (CI No 3,054). Sematech, which says it feels it’s assimilating as much as it can at the moment without the addition of Japanese partners, is nevertheless maintaining links with the other organizations.

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