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Taiwan Poised to Lead Global Silicon Photonics Manufacturing, Says ASE Investment Holdings COO

ASE's COO, Wu Tianyu, sees silicon photonics as the next-gen industry breakthrough, with Taiwan set to be a major manufacturing base
a 3711.TW Blue Chip 150 Semicon 75 Tech 350
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Wu Tianyu, Chief Operating Officer of ASE Investment Holdings, the world’s premier packaging and testing company, asserted on the 3rd that silicon photonics technology (CPO) is slated to be the pivotal advancement in the next five to ten years. He noted substantial investments by major U.S. manufacturers in this arena and emphasized Taiwan’s imperative to intensify R&D efforts, given its prominent semiconductor industry infrastructure encompassing wafer foundries and packaging and testing facilities. While optimistic about Taiwan’s potential to emerge as the largest silicon photonics manufacturing hub globally, Wu candidly addressed the island’s need for bolstering materials, equipment, and automation capabilities.

Highlighting ASE’s 13-year investment in silicon photonics R&D and TSMC’s significant contributions to this domain, Wu revealed that TSMC Chairman Liu Deyin’s doctoral thesis was intricately linked to silicon photonics—an indication of prescient insights into optical transmission technology’s developmental trajectory.

Wu underscored TSMC’s active pursuit of advanced packaging, emphasizing that despite competitive elements, the relationship with ASE predominantly entails close collaboration. Taiwan presently stands as a foremost beneficiary of Moore’s Law CMOS, with TSMC at the helm of the semiconductor industry, leading in foundry and packaging/testing, and wielding pivotal advantages in production and manufacturing. The successful implementation of silicon photonics technology in Taiwan could further expedite its ascendancy in semiconductor manufacturing leadership.

In light of silicon photonics’ emergence, the demarcations between professional packaging/testing companies (OSAT) and electronic foundries (EMS) are blurring, signifying structural shifts in the industry. ASE, straddling both domains, is committed to continued advancements in silicon photonics and aims to collaboratively shape business models with partners.

Wu Tianyu expressed sanguinity in Taiwan’s potential to establish itself as the premier global silicon photonics manufacturing epicenter, while acknowledging areas needing strengthening, such as materials, equipment, and automation. He envisages a transformative impact of silicon photonics on the industry, advocating for collaborative efforts between Taiwan and stakeholders in IP, optics, and manufacturing to forge a visionary future.

Addressing the evolution of silicon photonics, Lin Hongyi, Director of ASE’s forward-looking technology development department, emphasized its significance as the second evolution of advanced packaging, shifting from electrical to optical paradigms. This transition not only enhances data centers’ computing power but also demands strategic adjustments in placement, aiming for greater energy efficiency and proximity to ICs.

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