UMC is moving about 140 engineers off the project out of a total of 300, as a first step towards ending its involvement in memory chip development, the report said referencing unnamed sources.
The move is an apparent response to Jinhua being hit by a ban by the US Department of Commerce in October 2018. That was the latest step in an escalation that saw UMC indicted in a California court in December 2017 over the alleged theft of DRAM trade secrets from Micron Technology Inc. (Boise, Idaho) and UMC suing Micron alleging patent infringement in the Chinese courts in 2018.
Fujian Jinhua is one of the DRAM chip projects in China and part of state-sponsored effort to achieve world-class manufacturing of leading-edge components such as memories and processors to reduce its chip-trade economic deficit. The project was due to enter production by the end of 2018 but construction of the wafer fabe was suspended because of the US support ban announced in November.
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