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Renesas to Strengthen its Compound Semiconductor Business

The company aims to become the industry-leading compound semiconductor supplier by strengthening its product lineups in the photocoupler, optical storage, RF switch, GaAs FETs and GaN based markets.

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a supplier of advanced semiconductor products, has announced new objectives to strengthen its compound semiconductor business.

Currently, the company makes opto devices formed by compound semiconductor such as gallium arsenide (GaAs).

Renesas plans to acquire and maintain the world's #1 market shares of photocouplers and optical storage devices. It hopes to further expand market shares of RF switch ICs and GaAs low-noise field effect transistors. The firm also intends to launch new gallium nitride (GaN)-based semiconductor products by March 2011.

Renesas Electronics expects the market of compound semiconductors to grow by an average annual growth rate of 8 %from FY2010 to FY2012, and by achieving these objectives, the company aims to expand its compound semiconductor business by 11 %, exceeding the market growth rate. Renesas also plans to increase its compound semiconductor sales in FY2012 by 1.2 times, targeting to become the industry-leading compound semiconductor supplier.

Regarding photocouplers, Renesas plans to accelerate its development of high-temperature operation, low-power and small-sized package to address the rising demand from the “green” markets such as hybrid and electric vehicles, LED lighting systems and electric meters. The company is aiming to achieve the world's #1 share in the photocoupler market in FY2011.

The company intends to further expand its sales of photocouplers by combining them with its IGBTs (insulated gate bipolar transistors), suitable for high-voltage and high-current output, and microcontrollers (MCUs) as one kit solution. In particular, the company will strengthen its overseas marketing function by doubling the headcount. In anticipation of a rapid rise in demand, Renesas Electronics plans to double its production capacity from that of FY2009 Q4.

With respect to RF switch ICs that enable transmit-receive switching, 3G-GSM-mode switching and antenna switching on electric devices with an RF function such as mobile phones and notebook PCs, Renesas will adopt a new compact transistors offering industry-leading low losses.

To meet customers' demands, the firm will offer its RF switch IC products equipped in an ultrasmall package or as a bare die. The company also aims to expand its RF switch IC business through collaboration with chipset vendors in the U.S., Europe and Taiwan to provide reference designs for system manufacturers. By achieving these objectives, Renesas Electronics intends to retain its current worldwide top share in the RF switch IC market.

The final plan is to launch GaN-based semiconductor products by March 2011. GaN is capable of operating at higher frequency, output power and temperatures compared to the existing semiconductor materials such as silicon (Si) and GaAs, and allows for far higher frequency of operation compared to SiC (silicon carbide), enabling higher breakdown voltage and high-speed operation for high-frequency applications.

Unlike other companies that apply the multi-layered fabrication method on a SiC substrate with a diameter of 3 to 4 inches, Renesas Electronics fabricates a circuit by stacking GaN layers on a Si substrate. This method brings a realization of larger wafers (6-inch wafers) and enables production of semiconductor devices at low-cost.

Renesas Electronics plans to first launch its GaN-based products with high functionality for the market of CATV (cable television) amplifiers. Sample shipments of its first GaN-based product, a module device for CATV incorporating multiple GaN FETs, condensers and other devices, is scheduled to begin by March 2011. Renesas Electronics Corporation supplies advanced semiconductor products including microcontrollers, SoC solutions and a broad range of analog and power devices. Business operations began as Renesas Electronics in April 2010 through the integration of NEC Electronics Corporation and Renesas Technology, with operations spanning research, development, design and manufacturing for a wide range of applications. Headquartered in Japan, Renesas Electronics has subsidiaries in 20 countries worldwide.

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