Intel will work with foundry business United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) to develop a 12nm semiconductor process platform for high-growth markets such as communication infrastructure and networking.

The new process node will be developed and manufactured by Intel Foundry Services (IFS) at Fabs 12, 22, and 32 at Intel’s Ocotillo Technology Fabrication site in Arizona, with production expected to begin in 2027. The 12nm process will feature industry-standard design tools (EDA) and process design kits (PDK), to simplify adoption for external customers.

Intel's Fab 32 in Chandler, Arizona
– Intel

The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but Tom’s Hardware reported that UMC will provide IFS with new capabilities such as RF and WiFi production technologies. The outlet also reported that UMC will handle the go-to-market activities of bringing the new node to market, providing Intel with access to its existing channel and customers.

UMC is a Taiwanese semiconductor foundry company with four 300mm fabs spread across Taiwan, Singapore, China, and Japan, and eight further manufacturing facilities in Hsinchu, Taiwan where the company is headquartered.

“Taiwan has been a critical part of the Asian and global semiconductor and broader technology ecosystem for decades, and Intel is committed to collaborating with innovative companies in Taiwan, such as UMC, to help better serve global customers,” said Stuart Pann, Intel SVP and GM of Intel Foundry Services.

He added: “Intel’s strategic collaboration with UMC further demonstrates our commitment to delivering technology and manufacturing innovation across the global semiconductor supply chain and is another important step toward our goal of becoming the world’s second-largest foundry by 2030.”

Yesterday (January 25) Intel posted its 2023 fourth-quarter financial results, which saw the company achieve $15.4 billion in revenue, a 10 percent year-over-year increase. Although Intel’s full-year revenue was down 14 percent year-over-year to $54.2bn and expectations for Q1 of 2024 remain pessimistic, IFS could help to bolster the company’s fortunes over the coming financial year, posting a $291m in revenue, a 63 percent annual increase.

Intel topped Gartner’s table of best-performing semiconductor vendors in 2023, despite experiencing a 16.7 percent revenue reduction during that same period.