National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE: NSM) today celebrated the grand opening of its first manufacturing plant in China, an assembly and test facility in Suzhou Industrial Park.
The half-million square-foot plant allows National to expand its capacity for assembling and testing semiconductors complementing existing assembly and test plants in Malaysia and Singapore.
The company's investment in China dates back to 1994, when it established an office in Beijing. Since the mid-1990s, National has opened sales offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen to accommodate the growing demand for analog chips from Chinese customers, including Foxconn, Huawei, Haier, and many others.
In September 2003, National unveiled a joint analog and mixed-signal integrated circuit (IC) laboratory with Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, south of Shanghai. The laboratory has more than 20 professors and students working on analog and mixed-signal IC designs with a focus on power management. Power management ICs are increasingly important components for electronic devices–such as camera cell phones¡ªthat require extremely high power efficiency to handle a host of features that are integrated into smaller and smaller consumer packages.
National intends to invest $200 million in the facility. After a ground-breaking ceremony in November 2002, construction began in earnest in January 2003. Fifteen months later, with construction complete, the company started hiring its first operation employees. Suzhou shipped its first finished products to customers in July 2004.
The site includes three buildings on 52,000 square meters (or 550,000 square feet) and is located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Shanghai. National acquired a total land plot of 146,000 square meters (36 acres), which is sufficient to expand on the site when more capacity is required.