20-F 1 umc-20f_20201231.htm 20-F umc-20f_20201231.htm

 

 UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

 

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report                     

For the transition period from                      to                     

Commission file number 001-15128

 

United Microelectronics Corporation

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Taiwan, Republic of China

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

No. 3 Li-Hsin Road II, Hsinchu Science Park,

Hsinchu City, Taiwan, Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

Chitung Liu, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Telephone: +886-2-2658-9168 / Email: ir@umc.com

8F, No. 68, Section 1, Neihu Road., Taipei 11493, Taiwan R.O.C.

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

 

Title of each class 

 

Trading Symbol(s) 

 

Name of each exchange on which registered 

American Depositary Shares, each representing 5 Common Shares

 

UMC

 

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.

12,422,401,493 Common Shares of Registrant issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2020

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.     Yes      No  

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.     Yes       No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.     Yes       No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer, ” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP  

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board  

Other  

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.     Item 17       Item 18  

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934).     Yes       No  

 

 

 


 

UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORPORATION

FORM 20-F ANNUAL REPORT

FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020

Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

 

 

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

1

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS IN THIS ANNUAL REPORT MAY NOT BE REALIZED

1

 

 

 

PART I.

 

4

 

 

 

ITEM 1

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

4

ITEM 2

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

4

ITEM 3

KEY INFORMATION

4

ITEM 4

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

21

ITEM 4A.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

39

ITEM 5

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

40

ITEM 6

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

54

ITEM 7

MAJOR STOCKHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

57

ITEM 8

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

58

ITEM 9

THE OFFER AND LISTING

59

ITEM 10

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

60

ITEM 11

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

77

ITEM 12

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

79

 

 

 

PART II.

 

81

 

 

 

ITEM 13

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

81

ITEM 14

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

81

ITEM 15

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

81

ITEM 16A.

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

83

ITEM 16B.

CODE OF ETHICS

83

ITEM 16C.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

83

ITEM 16D.

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

84

ITEM 16E.

PURCHASE OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

84

ITEM 16F.

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

84

ITEM 16G.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

84

ITEM 16H.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

85

 

 

 

PART III.

 

86

 

 

 

ITEM 17

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

86

ITEM 18

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

86

ITEM 19

EXHIBITS

87

 

 

i


 

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

The references to “United Microelectronics”, “we”, “us”, “our”, “our company” and “the Company” in this Annual Report refer to United Microelectronics Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries, unless the context suggests otherwise. The references to “Taiwan” and “R.O.C.” refer to Taiwan, Republic of China. The references to “China” and “PRC” refer to People’s Republic of China. The references to “shares” and “common shares” refer to our common shares, par value NT$10 per share, and “ADSs” refer to our American Depositary Shares, each representing five common shares. The ADSs are issued under the Deposit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2009, as amended, supplemented or modified from time to time, among United Microelectronics, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and the holders and beneficial owners from time to time of American Depositary Receipts issued thereunder. The references to “TIFRSs” refer to the Taiwan International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the Financial Supervisory Commission in the Republic of China, “IFRSs” refer to International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, or IASB, and “U.S. GAAP” refer to the generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. Any discrepancies in any table between totals and sums of the amounts listed are due to rounding.

We publish our financial statements in New Taiwan dollars, the lawful currency of the R.O.C. In this Annual Report, “NT$” and “NT dollars” mean New Taiwan dollars, “$”, “US$” and “U.S. dollars” mean United States dollars, “¥” means Japanese Yen, “RMB¥” means Renminbi, “SGD” means Singapore Dollar and “€” means EURO.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS IN THIS ANNUAL REPORT MAY NOT BE REALIZED

Our disclosure and analysis in this Annual Report contain or incorporate by reference some forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events. Although we believe that these expectations and projections are reasonable, such forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions about us, including, among other things:

 

our dependence on frequent introduction of new product services and technologies based on the latest developments;

 

the intensely competitive semiconductor, communications, consumer electronics and computer industries and markets;

 

risks associated with our international business activities;

 

our dependence on key personnel;

 

general economic and political conditions, including those related to the semiconductor, communications, consumer electronics and computer industries;

 

natural disasters, such as earthquakes and droughts, which are beyond our control;

 

possible disruptions in commercial activities caused by natural and human-induced disasters, and outbreaks of contagious diseases such as the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;

 

additional disclosures we make in our previous and future Form 20-F annual reports and Form 6-K periodic reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the U.S. SEC; and

 

those other risks identified in the “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report.

You can identify forward looking statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. The words “may”, “will”, “is/are likely to”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “plan” and similar expressions are intended to identify a number of these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this Form 20-F include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our business strategies and future plans, anticipated business condition and financial results, our capital expenditure plans, our capacity management plans, expectations as to the capabilities of our technologies and manufacturing process, technological upgrades, investment in research and development, future market demand, regulatory or other developments in our industry, business expansion plans or new investments as well as business acquisitions and financing plans. Please see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” for a further discussion of certain factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by our forward-looking statements. We do not and will not undertake the obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed in this Annual Report might not occur and our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements.

1


GLOSSARY

 

 

 

AMS

Analog/mixed-signal.

 

 

ASIC

Application Specific Integrated Circuit. A custom-designed integrated circuit that performs specific functions which would otherwise require a number of off-the-shelf integrated circuits to perform.

 

 

BCD

Bipolar-Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (“CMOS”)-Double Diffused Metal Oxide Semiconductor (“DMOS”). An integrated circuit and one of the most important components for power management integration circuits.

 

 

BSI-CSI

Back-Side Illuminated CMOS Image Sensor, which is recently used for mobile product image sensor with better performance and thinner chip.

 

 

Cell

Semiconductor structure in an electrical state, which can store a bit of information, mainly used as the building block of memory array.

 

 

Die

A piece of a semiconductor wafer containing the circuitry of an unpackaged single chip.

 

 

DRAM

Dynamic Random Access Memory. A type of volatile memory product that is used in electronic systems to store data and program instructions. It is the most common type of RAM and must be refreshed with electricity hundreds of times per second or else it will fade away.

 

 

eFlash

Embedded Flash Nonvolatile Memory. Used for most SoC (“System-on-Chip”) applications and has faster speed and enhanced security.

 

 

eHV

Embedded High Voltage Device. Used for Liquid Crystal Display (“LCD”) driver circuit to drive LCD devices.

 

 

FinFET

Fin Field-Effect Transistor.

 

 

FPGA

Field Programmable Gate Array. A programmable integrated circuit.

 

 

Integrated Circuit

Entire electronic circuit built on a single piece of solid substrate and enclosed in a small package. The package is equipped with leads needed to electrically integrate the integrated circuit with a larger electronic system. Monolithic and hybrid integrated circuits are distinguished by the type of substrate used.

Interconnect

The conductive path made from copper or aluminum that is required to achieve connection from one circuit element to the other circuit elements within a circuit.

 

 

Mask or Photomask

A piece of glass on which an integrated circuit circuitry design is laid out.

 

 

MCU

Microcontroller unit, a small computer on a single integrated circuit, containing one or more central processing units along with memory and programmable input/output peripherals.

 

 

Memory

A group of integrated circuits that a computer uses to store data and programs, such as ROM, RAM, DRAM and SRAM.

 

 

Micron

A unit of spatial measurement that is one-millionth of a meter.

 

 

MRAM

Magnetic Random Access Memory.

 

 

Nanometer

A unit of spatial measurement that is one-billionth of a meter.

 

 

PC

Personal computer.

 

 

RAM

Random Access Memory. A type of volatile memory forming the main memory of a computer where applications and files are run.

 

 

ReRAM

Resistive Random Access Memory.

 

 

RF-SOI

Radio Frequency Silicon on Insulator.

 

 

ROM

Read-Only Memory. Memory that is programmed by the manufacturer and cannot be changed. Typically, ROM is used to provide start-up data when a computer is first turned on.

 

 

Scanner

A photolithography tool used in the production of semiconductor devices. This camera-like step-and-scan tool projects the image of a circuit from a master image onto a photosensitized silicon wafer.

 

 

2


Semiconductor

A material with electrical conducting properties in between those of metals and insulators. Essentially, semiconductors transmit electricity only under certain circumstances, such as when given a positive or negative electric charge. Therefore, a semiconductor’s ability to conduct can be turned on or off by manipulating those charges and this allows the semiconductor to act as an electric switch. The most common semiconductor material is silicon, used as the base of most semiconductor chips today because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to create.

 

 

SoC

System-on-Chip. A chip that incorporates functions currently performed by several chips on a cost effective basis.

 

 

SOI

Silicon-On-Insulator. Silicon wafer consisting of a thin layer of oxide, on top of which semiconductor devices are built.

 

 

SRAM

Static Random Access Memory. A type of volatile memory product that is used in electronic systems to store data and program instructions. Unlike the more common DRAM, it does not need to be refreshed.

 

 

Transistor

Tri-terminal semiconductor device in which input signal (voltage or current depending on the type of transistor) controls output current. An individual circuit that can amplify or switch electric current. This is the building block of all integrated circuits.

Volatile memory

Memory products which lose their data content when the power supply is switched off.

 

 

Wafer

Thin, round, flat piece of silicon that is the base of most integrated circuits.

 

 

8-inch wafer equivalents

Standard unit describing the equivalent amount of 8-inch wafers produced after conversion, used to quantify levels of wafer production for purposes of comparison. Figures of 8-inch wafer equivalents are derived by converting the number of wafers of all dimensions (e.g., 6-inch, 8-inch and 12-inch) into their equivalent figures for 8-inch wafers. 100 6-inch wafers are equivalent to 56.25 8-inch wafers. 100 12-inch wafers are equivalent to 225 8-inch wafers.

 

3


 

PART I.

ITEM 1

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

ITEM 3

KEY INFORMATION

A.

Selected Financial Data

The selected consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2019 and 2020 and the selected consolidated statements of comprehensive income data for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report. In accordance with the requirements of the Taiwan Financial Supervisory Commission, or FSC, beginning on January 1, 2013, we have adopted Taiwan-IFRSs, which is translated and published by Accounting Research and Development Foundation, or ARDF, referred to as “TIFRSs” for reporting our annual and interim consolidated financial statements in the R.O.C. At the same time, we have adopted IFRSs as issued by the IASB for our annual reports on Form 20-F with the U.S. SEC beginning with the year ended December 31, 2013. However, since January 1, 2013, we only prepare our interim unaudited quarterly financial statements under TIFRSs, which are furnished to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on Form 6-K. The selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the selected consolidated statements of comprehensive income data for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2017 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this Annual Report.

In accordance with rule amendments adopted by the SEC for foreign private issuers reporting under IFRSs, we are not required to provide reconciliations to U.S. GAAP in this Annual Report following our adoption of IFRSs.

4


The selected financial data set forth below should be read in conjunction with “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and our consolidated financial statements and the notes to those statements included in this Annual Report.

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in millions, except per share and per ADS data)

 

Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive

   Income Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating revenues

 

 

147,870

 

 

 

149,285

 

 

 

151,253

 

 

 

148,202

 

 

 

176,821

 

 

 

6,297

 

Operating costs

 

 

(117,491

)

 

 

(122,227

)

 

 

(128,413

)

 

 

(126,887

)

 

 

(137,824

)

 

 

(4,908

)

Gross profit

 

 

30,379

 

 

 

27,058

 

 

 

22,840

 

 

 

21,315

 

 

 

38,997

 

 

 

1,389

 

Operating expenses

 

 

(23,922

)

 

 

(22,143

)

 

 

(22,277

)

 

 

(21,614

)

 

 

(23,320

)

 

 

(830

)

Net other operating income and expenses

 

 

(263

)

 

 

1,653

 

 

 

5,117

 

 

 

5,182

 

 

 

6,254

 

 

 

222

 

Operating income

 

 

6,194

 

 

 

6,568

 

 

 

5,680

 

 

 

4,883

 

 

 

21,931

 

 

 

781

 

Non-operating income and expenses

 

 

(1,473

)

 

 

1,104

 

 

 

(3,562

)

 

 

(77

)

 

 

612

 

 

 

22

 

Income from continuing operations before income tax

 

 

4,721

 

 

 

7,672

 

 

 

2,118

 

 

 

4,806

 

 

 

22,543

 

 

 

803

 

Income tax benefit (expense)

 

 

(553

)

 

 

(993

)

 

 

1,130

 

 

 

(230

)

 

 

(1,691

)

 

 

(60

)

Net income

 

 

4,168

 

 

 

6,679

 

 

 

3,248

 

 

 

4,576

 

 

 

20,852

 

 

 

743

 

Total other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax

 

 

(4,024

)

 

 

(4,815

)

 

 

835

 

 

 

2,778

 

 

 

2,480

 

 

 

88

 

Total comprehensive income

 

 

144

 

 

 

1,864

 

 

 

4,083

 

 

 

7,354

 

 

 

23,332

 

 

 

831

 

Net income attributable to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stockholders of the parent

 

 

8,621

 

 

 

9,676

 

 

 

7,678

 

 

 

8,155

 

 

 

22,861

 

 

 

814

 

Non-controlling interests

 

 

(4,453

)

 

 

(2,997

)

 

 

(4,430

)

 

 

(3,579

)

 

 

(2,009

)

 

 

(71

)

Total comprehensive income attributable to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stockholders of the parent

 

 

4,629

 

 

 

4,973

 

 

 

8,617

 

 

 

10,948

 

 

 

25,215

 

 

 

898

 

Non-controlling interests

 

 

(4,485

)

 

 

(3,109

)

 

 

(4,534

)

 

 

(3,594

)

 

 

(1,883

)

 

 

(67

)

Earnings per share: (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

0.71

 

 

 

0.81

 

 

 

0.65

 

 

 

0.71

 

 

 

1.93

 

 

 

0.07

 

Diluted (2)

 

 

0.67

 

 

 

0.75

 

 

 

0.60

 

 

 

0.65

 

 

 

1.87

 

 

 

0.07

 

Common shares used in earnings per share

   calculation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

12,099

 

 

 

11,995

 

 

 

11,890

 

 

 

11,565

 

 

 

11,850

 

 

 

11,850

 

Diluted (2)

 

 

13,350

 

 

 

13,273

 

 

 

13,271

 

 

 

12,951

 

 

 

12,250

 

 

 

12,250

 

Earnings per ADS equivalent:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

3.56

 

 

 

4.03

 

 

 

3.23

 

 

 

3.53

 

 

 

9.65

 

 

 

0.34

 

Diluted (2)

 

 

3.33

 

 

 

3.75

 

 

 

3.00

 

 

 

3.26

 

 

 

9.36

 

 

 

0.33

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

US$

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

 

384,227

 

 

 

391,132

 

 

 

362,597

 

 

 

366,262

 

 

 

366,454

 

 

 

13,050

 

Total liabilities

 

 

169,281

 

 

 

181,511

 

 

 

158,200

 

 

 

163,348

 

 

 

143,314

 

 

 

5,104

 

Stockholders’ equity

 

 

214,946

 

 

 

209,621

 

 

 

204,397

 

 

 

202,914

 

 

 

223,140

 

 

 

7,946

 

Capital stock (3)

 

 

126,243

 

 

 

126,243

 

 

 

124,243

 

 

 

117,576

 

 

 

124,224

 

 

 

4,424

 

Dividends declared per share (4)

 

 

0.55

 

 

 

0.50

 

 

 

0.70

 

 

 

0.58

 

 

 

0.75

 

 

 

0.03

 

5


 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

NT$

 

 

US$

 

Segment Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wafer fabrication

 

 

147,444

 

 

 

148,940

 

 

 

151,024

 

 

 

148,124

 

 

 

176,811

 

 

 

6,297

 

New business

 

 

426

 

 

 

345

 

 

 

229

 

 

 

78

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

0

 

Net income (loss) (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wafer fabrication

 

 

4,219

 

 

 

6,729

 

 

 

2,688

 

 

 

6,157

 

 

 

27,109

 

 

 

965

 

New business

 

 

(1,662

)

 

 

(666

)

 

 

(603

)

 

 

(442

)

 

 

1,061

 

 

 

38

 

 

(1)

Earnings per share is calculated by dividing net income by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the year.

(2)

Diluted securities include convertible bonds, employees’ compensation and restricted stocks for employees, if any.

(3)

Changes to the number of the capital common shares are primarily caused by the share-based payment transactions, the cancellation of treasury stocks and the conversion of convertible bonds, if any.

(4)

Dividends declared per share are in connection with earnings and accumulated additional paid-in capital and would be adjusted for the outstanding common shares changed due to convertible bonds converted, treasury stock repurchased, cancelled and transferred to employees, if any.

(5)

There are adjustments for intragroup elimination and GAAP differences between segment data and consolidated data.

Currency Translations and Exchange Rates

In portions of this Annual Report, we have translated New Taiwan dollar amounts into U.S. dollars for the convenience of readers. The rate we used for the translations was NT$28.08 to US$1.00, which was the foreign exchange rate on December 31, 2020 as released by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The translation does not mean that New Taiwan dollars could actually be converted into U.S. dollars at that rate.

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

D.

Risk Factors

Our business and operations are subject to various risks, many of which are beyond our control. If any of the risks described below actually occurs, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be seriously harmed.

Risks Related to Our Business and Financial Condition

Any global systemic political, economic and financial crisis could negatively affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

In recent times, several major systemic economic and financial crises negatively affected global business, banking and financial sectors, including the semiconductor industry and markets. These types of crises cause turmoil in global markets that often result in declines in electronic products sales from which we generate our income through our goods and services. In addition, these crises may cause a number of indirect effects such as undermining the ability of our customers to remain competitive when faced with the financial and economic challenges created by insolvent countries and companies struggling to survive in the wake of these crises. For example, there could be in the future knock-on effects from these types of crises on our business, including significant decreases in orders from our customers; insolvency of key suppliers resulting in product delays; inability of customers to obtain credit to finance purchases of our products; customer insolvencies; and counterparty failures negatively impacting our treasury operations. Any future systemic political, economic or financial crises could cause revenues for the semiconductor industry as a whole to decline dramatically, and if the economic conditions or financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate, additional accounting related allowances may be required in the future and such additional allowances could increase our operating expenses and therefore reduce our operating income and net income. Any disruption in global trade conditions such as the increase in tariffs or the escalation of regional trade tension will indirectly impact global business environment which may adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

6


 

The seasonality and cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry and periodic overcapacity make us particularly vulnerable to significant and sometimes prolonged economic downturns.

The semiconductor industry has historically been highly cyclical and, at various times, has experienced significant downturns. Since most of our customers operate in semiconductor-related industries, variations in order levels from our customers can result in volatility in our revenues and earnings. Because our business is, and will continue to be, largely dependent on the requirements of semiconductor companies for our services, downturns in the semiconductor industry will lead to reduced demand for our services.

Our operating revenues are also typically affected by seasonal variations in market conditions that contribute to the fluctuations of the average selling price of semiconductor services and products. The seasonal sales trends for semiconductor services and products closely mirror those for consumer electronics, communication and computer sales. We generally experience seasonal lows in the demand for semiconductor services and products during the first half of the year, primarily as a result of inventory correction by our customers. Any change in the general seasonal variations, which we cannot anticipate, may result in materially adverse effects on our revenues, operations and businesses.

Our operating results fluctuate from quarter to quarter, which makes it difficult to predict our future performance.

Our revenues, expenses and results of operations have varied significantly in the past and may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter in the future due to a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Our business and operations have at times in the past been negatively affected by, and are expected to continue to be subject to the risk of the following factors:

 

the seasonality and cyclical nature of both the semiconductor industry and the markets served by our customers;

 

our customers’ adjustments in their inventory;

 

the loss of a key customer or the postponement of orders from a key customer;

 

the rescheduling and cancellation of large orders;

 

our ability to obtain equipment, raw materials, electricity, water and other required utilities on a timely and economic basis;

 

outbreaks of contagious diseases, including but not limited to severe acute respiratory syndrome, avian flu, COVID-19, swine flu and Zika virus;

 

regulatory development and changes affecting our business operations globally;

 

environmental events, such as fires and earthquakes, or industrial accidents; and

 

technological changes.

 

Due to the factors noted above and other risks discussed in this section, many of which are beyond our control, you should not rely on quarter-to-quarter comparisons to predict our future performance. Unfavorable changes in any of the above factors may seriously harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, our operating results may be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors in some future periods. In this event, the price of the common shares or ADSs may underperform or fall.

A decrease in demand for or selling prices of communication devices, consumer electronics and computer goods may decrease the demand for our services and reduce our margins.

Our customers generally use the semiconductors produced in our fabs in a wide variety of applications. We derive a significant percentage of our operating revenues from customers who use our manufacturing services to make semiconductors for communication devices, consumer electronics, PCs and other computers. The semiconductor industry experienced several downturns due to recent major financial crises and natural disasters. These downturns resulted in a reduced demand for our services and hence decreased our revenues and earnings. Any significant decrease in the demand for communication devices, consumer electronics, PCs or other computers may further decrease the demand for our services. In addition, if the average selling price of communication devices, consumer electronics, PCs or other computers decline significantly, we will be pressured to further reduce our selling prices, which may reduce our revenues and, therefore, reduce our margins significantly. As demonstrated by downturns in demand for high technology products in the past, market conditions can change rapidly, without apparent warning or advance notice. In such instances, our customers will experience inventory buildup and/or difficulties in selling their products and, in turn, will reduce or cancel orders for wafers from us. The timing, severity and recovery of these downturns cannot be predicted accurately or at all. When they occur, our business, profitability and price of the common shares and ADSs are likely to suffer. In addition, we may not be able to verify or guarantee the creditworthiness of some of our customers. If customers fail to make payments on a timely basis and accumulate substantial accounts receivable, we may not be able to collect payments or may incur substantial costs and expenses to pursue legal remedies to recover such losses, which may have an adverse effect on our financial conditions and results of operations.

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Overcapacity in the semiconductor industry may reduce our revenues, earnings and margins.

The prices that we can charge our customers for our services are significantly related to the overall worldwide supply of integrated circuits and semiconductor products. The overall supply of semiconductor products is based in part on the capacity of other companies, which is outside of our control. For example, in light of the current market conditions, some companies, including our largest competitors, have announced plans to increase capacity expenditures significantly. We believe such plans, if carried out as planned, will increase the industry-wide capacity and are likely to result in overcapacity in the future. In periods of overcapacity, if we are unable to offset the adverse effects of overcapacity through, among other things, our technology and product mix, we may have to lower the prices we charge our customers for our services and/or we may have to operate at significantly less than full capacity. Such actions could reduce our margin and profitability and weaken our financial condition and results of operations. We cannot give any assurance that an increase in the demand for foundry services in the future will not lead to overcapacity in the near future, which could materially adversely affect our revenues, earnings and margins.

Any problem in the semiconductor outsourcing infrastructure can adversely affect our operating revenues and profitability.

Many of our customers depend on third parties to provide mask tooling, assembly and test services, and we and our customers may not be able to control or direct such third parties to provide these services timely or at costs reasonable to our customers. If these customers cannot timely obtain these services on reasonable terms, they may not order any foundry services from us. This may significantly reduce our operating revenues and negatively affect our profitability.

 

We may be unable to implement new technologies as they become available, which may result in the decrease of our profitability and the loss of customers and market share.

The semiconductor industry is developing rapidly and the related technology is constantly evolving. If we do not anticipate the technology evolution and rapidly adopt new and innovative technology, we may not be able to produce sufficiently advanced services at competitive prices. There is a risk that our competitors may adopt new technology before we do, resulting in our loss of market share. If we are unable to begin offering advanced services and processes on a competitive and timely basis, we may lose customers to our competitors providing similar technologies, which may cause our operating revenues to decline unless we can replace lost customers with new customers. In addition, the market prices for advanced technology and services tend to fall over time. As a result, if we are unable to offer new advanced services and processes on a competitive and timely basis, we may need to reduce prices that we set for our existing services and processes, which would have a negative effect on our profitability. We also depend upon the introduction of new technologies on a timely basis in order to benefit from the relatively higher prices such new technologies offer in the earlier stages of their life cycles. If we are unable to introduce new technologies on a timely and competitive basis, we may not be able to benefit from the relatively higher prices for new technologies, and our average selling price and profits would decrease accordingly.

We may be unable to provide leading technology to our customers if we lose the support of our technology partners.

Enhancing our manufacturing process technologies is critical to our ability to provide services for our customers. We intend to continue to advance our process technologies through internal research and development and alliances with other companies. In addition to our internal research and development team focused on developing new and improved semiconductor manufacturing process technologies, we are also dependent on some of our technology partners to advance certain process technology portfolios. In addition, we currently have patent cross-licensing agreements with several companies, including International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM. Some mask and equipment vendors also supply our technology development teams with masks and equipment needed to develop more advanced processing technologies. If we are unable to continue any of our joint development arrangements, patent cross-licensing agreements and other agreements, on mutually beneficial economic terms, if we re-evaluate the technological and economic benefits of such relationships, if we are unable to enter into new technology alliances and arrangements with other leading and specialty semiconductor companies, or if we fail to secure masks and equipment from our vendors in a timely manner sufficient to support our ongoing technology development, we may be unable to continue providing our customers with leading edge mass-producible process technologies and may, as a result, lose important customers, which would have a materially adverse effect on our businesses, results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, some of our customers rely upon third-party vendors, or intellectual property (IP) vendors, for the IP they embed into their designs. Although we work and collaborate with IP vendors with respect to such matters, there can be no guarantee that we will be successful or that the vendors will deliver according to our requirements or the needs of our customers. Failures to meet the targets or to deliver on a timely basis could cause customers to cancel orders and/or shift capacity to other suppliers.

8


Any outbreak of contagious diseases, such as the recent COVID-19 epidemics, may materially and adversely affect our business and operations, as well as our financial condition and results of operations.

Any outbreak of contagious diseases, including but not limited to COVID-19, Zika virus, Ebola virus, avian or swine influenza or severe acute respiratory syndrome, may disrupt our ability to adequately staff our business and may generally disrupt our operations. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic in China is spreading globally and expected to adversely affect the economic conditions in Asia and throughout the world. The outbreak has slowed the economic growth in China and other regions of the world where we and our customers operate, which will negatively impact the global supply chain, market and economies. We have significant operations in China, Taiwan and the Asia Pacific region, including supply chain and manufacturing facilities and sales and marketing channels. If the pandemic continues, we may experience a decline of sales activities and customer orders; reduction of operation and workforce at our fabs; difficulties in international travels and communications; regulatory restrictions; reduction of research and development activities; and other risks resulting from the outbreak. Any of these factors may adversely affect our business, financial conditions and results of operations. In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing government regulations implementing stay-at-home orders and restrictions on travel and other activities, we have experienced an increase in demand for manufacturing capacity in the semiconductor industry in respond to increased demand for consumer electronic products, which had a positive impact on our financial performance. However, we cannot predict the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the semiconductor industry in the future, and any increase in such demand may not be sustainable and we may experience a decline in our sales activities and customer orders.

 

In addition, if any of our employees is suspected of having contracted COVID-19 or any contagious disease, we may under certain circumstances be required to quarantine such employees and the affected areas of our premises. Therefore, we may have to temporarily suspend part of or all of our operations. Furthermore, government actions to contain the outbreak may restrict the level of economic activities in affected regions, including Taiwan, and affect the willingness and ability of our employees and customers to travel, which may also adversely affect our business and prospects. As a result, we cannot assure you that any future outbreak of contagious diseases would not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Our business may suffer if we cannot compete successfully in our industry.

The worldwide semiconductor foundry industry is highly competitive. We compete with dedicated foundry service providers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, Semiconductor Manufacturing International (Shanghai) Corporation, Globalfoundries Inc., as well as the foundry operation services of some integrated device manufacturers, such as Intel, Samsung Electronics, or Samsung, SK Hynix and Toshiba Corporation, or Toshiba. Integrated device manufacturers principally manufacture and sell their own proprietary semiconductor products, but may also offer foundry services. Other competitors such as Dongbu Anam Semiconductor, , Huahong, Powerchip, TowerJazz, Vanguard and XMC have initiated efforts to expand and develop substantial additional foundry capacity. New entrants and consolidations in the foundry business are likely to initiate a trend of competitive pricing and create potential overcapacity in legacy technology. Some of our competitors have greater access to capital and substantially greater production, research and development, marketing and other resources than we do. As a result, these companies may be able to compete more aggressively over a longer period of time than we can.

The principal elements of competition in the wafer foundry market include:

technical competence;

time-to-volume production and cycle time;

time-to-market;

research and development quality;

available capacity;

manufacturing yields;

customer service and design support;

price;

management expertise; and

strategic alliances.

Our ability to compete successfully also depends on factors partially outside of our control, including product availability, IP, including cell libraries that our customers embed in their product designs, and industry and general economic trends.

 

9


 

We may not be able to implement our planned growth if we are unable to obtain the financing necessary to fund the substantial capital expenditures we expect to incur.

Our business and the nature of our industry require us to make substantial capital expenditures leading to a high level of fixed costs. The costs of facilities, tools and equipment to make semiconductors with advanced technology continue to rise, with each generation typically significantly more expensive than the larger-in-size more mature technologies which preceded. We expect to incur significant capital expenditures in connection with our growth plans. These capital expenditures will be made in advance of any additional sales to be generated by new or upgraded fabs as a result of these expenditures. Given the fixed-cost nature of our business, we have in the past incurred, and may in the future incur, operating losses if our revenues do not adequately offset our capital expenditures. Additionally, our actual expenditures may exceed our planned expenditures for a variety of reasons, including changes in:

our growth plan;

our process technology;

our research and development efforts and patent license arrangements;

market conditions;

interest rates;

exchange rate fluctuations; and

prices of equipment.

We cannot assure you that additional financing will be available on satisfactory terms, if at all. If adequate funds are not available on satisfactory terms, we may be forced to curtail our expansion plans or delay the deployment of our services, which could result in a loss of customers and limit the growth of our business.

We depend on a small number of customers for a significant portion of our operating revenues and any loss of these customers would result in significant declines in our operating revenues.

We have been largely dependent on a small number of customers for a substantial portion of our business. In 2020, our top ten customers accounted for 53.7% of our operating revenues. We expect that we will continue to depend upon a relatively limited number of customers for a significant portion of our operating revenues. We cannot assure you that our operating revenues generated from these customers, individually or in the aggregate, will reach or exceed historical levels in any future period. Loss or cancellation of business from significant changes in scheduled deliveries to, or decreases in the prices of services sold to any of these customers could significantly reduce our operating revenues.

Our customers generally do not place purchase orders far in advance, which makes it difficult for us to predict our future revenues, adjust production costs and allocate capacity efficiently on a timely basis. In addition, due to the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry, our customers’ purchase orders have varied significantly from period to period. As a result, we do not typically operate with any significant backlog, except in periods of extreme capacity shortage. The lack of significant backlog and the unpredictable length and timing of semiconductor cycles make it difficult for us to forecast our revenues in future periods. Moreover, our expense levels are based in part on our expectations of future revenues, and we may be unable to adjust costs in a timely manner to compensate for revenue shortfalls. We expect that in the future our operating revenues in any quarter will continue to be substantially dependent upon purchase orders received in that quarter.

Moreover, the increasing trend in mergers and acquisitions activities in the semiconductor industry could reduce total available customer base, which could potentially result in a loss of customers.

 

Our operations and business will suffer if we lose one or more of our key personnel without adequate replacements.

Our future success to a large extent depends on the continued services of our Chairman and key executive officers. We do not carry key person insurance on any of our personnel. If we lose the services of any of our Chairman or key executive officers, it could be difficult to find and integrate replacement personnel in a short period of time, which could harm our operations and the growth of our business.

10


We may have difficulty attracting and retaining skilled employees, who are critical to our future success.

The success of our business depends upon attracting and retaining experienced executives, engineers and other employees to implement our strategy. The competition for skilled employees is intense. We expect demand for personnel in Taiwan to increase in the future as new wafer fabrication facilities and other businesses are established in Taiwan. We also expect demand for experienced personnel in other locations to increase significantly as our competitors establish and expand their operations. Some of our competitors are willing to offer better compensation than what we do to our executives, engineers and other employees. We do not have long-term employment contracts with any of our employees. If we were unable to retain our existing personnel or attract, assimilate and recruit new experienced personnel in the future, it could seriously disrupt our operations and delay or restrict the growth of our business.

Our transactions with affiliates and stockholders may hurt our profitability and competitive position.

We have provided foundry services to several of our affiliates and stockholders. We currently do not provide any preferential treatment to any of these affiliates and stockholders. However, we may in the future reserve or allocate our production capacity to these companies if there is a shortage of foundry services in the market to enable these companies to maintain their operations and/or to protect our investments in them. This reservation or allocation may reduce our capacity available for our other customers, which may damage our relationships with other customers and discourage them from using our services. This may hurt our profitability and competitive position.

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud, and investor confidence in our company may be adversely affected.

We are required to comply with the R.O.C. and the U.S. securities laws and regulations in connection with internal controls. As a public company in the United States, our management is required to assess the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting using the criteria established in Internal Control-Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework), or the COSO criteria, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm may decline to issue an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, or may issue a report that is qualified or adverse. During the course of the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, we or our independent registered public accounting firm may identify control deficiencies that we may not be able to remediate prior to the date of our first assessment of internal control over financial reporting. Our failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements or prevent fraud, which in turn could harm our business and negatively impact the trading price of our securities.

However, although effective internal controls can provide reasonable assurance with respect to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements, they may not prevent or detect misstatements because of their inherent limitations, including the possibility of human error, the circumvention or overriding of controls, fraud or corruption. If we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, our business and operating results could be harmed, we could fail to meet our reporting obligations, and there could be a material adverse effect on the market price of our common shares and ADSs.

 

The trend of adopting protectionist measures in certain countries, including the United States, could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

Governments in the United States, PRC and certain other countries have implemented fiscal and monetary programs to stimulate economic growth as a result of the recent economic downturn, and many of these programs include protectionist measures that encourage the use of domestic products and labor. Recent policy developments by the governments in US, China and elsewhere also suggest an increased unwillingness to allow international companies to invest in or acquire local businesses. Since many of our direct customers and other downstream customers in the supply chain are located in or have operations in the countries where protectionist measures were adopted, such protectionist measures may have a material adverse effect on demand for our manufacturing services.

11


We may decide to make strategic acquisitions of other companies, assets or businesses and such acquisitions may introduce significant risks and uncertainties, including risks related to integrating the acquired assets or businesses.

In order to position ourselves to take advantage of growth opportunities, we have made, and may continue to make, certain strategic acquisitions, mergers and alliances that involve significant risks and uncertainties. Even if we have identified a suitable target or partner for a strategic transaction, there is no guarantee that we will be able to negotiate a successful agreement at pricing favorable to us or to consummate the transaction in a timely manner, or at all.  Furthermore, we may incur significant costs in pursuing such strategic transaction and invest in a substantial amount of time and effort without a guarantee that such transaction will be completed. Successful acquisitions and alliances in the semiconductor industry are difficult to accomplish because they require efficient integration and aligning of product offerings and manufacturing operations and coordination of sales and marketing and research and development efforts. The difficulties of integration and alignment may be increased by the necessity of coordinating geographically separated organizations, the complexity of the technologies being integrated and aligned and the necessity of integrating personnel with disparate business backgrounds and combining different corporate cultures. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that we will be able to identify a viable target for strategic acquisition, and we may incur significant costs and resources in such effort that may not result in a successful acquisition. In addition, we may also issue equity securities to pay for future acquisitions or alliances, which could be dilutive to existing shareholders. We may also incur debt or assume contingent liabilities in connection with acquisitions and alliances, which could impose restrictions on our business operations and harm our operating results.

We may not be able to fully realize the expected benefits from the acquisition of USJC and the operation of USJC may subject us to additional risks.

In October 2019, we closed a transaction to acquire Fujitsu’s interest in Mie Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited, or MIFS. Upon the closure of such transaction, MIFS was later renamed United Semiconductor Japan Corporation LTD., or USJC, and became one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries. There is a large number of processes, policies, procedures, operations, technologies and systems at USJC and UMC that must be integrated, including accounting and finance, payroll, revenue management, commercial operations, risk management and employee benefits. We expect to incur significant expenses and costs to complete the integration process which may adversely affect our financial performance. The integration of newly acquired businesses will also require a significant amount of time and attention from management. Moreover, even if we were able to fully integrate the business operations of USJC successfully, there can be no assurance that this integration will result in the realization of the full benefits of synergies, cost savings, innovation and operational efficiencies that may be possible from this integration or that these benefits will be achieved within a reasonable period of time. Delays in integrating USJC, which could be caused by factors outside of our control, could adversely affect the intended benefits of our business, financial results, financial condition and stock price. In addition, the acquisition may subject us to additional operational and financial risks, including the following:

 

uncertainties in the business relationships with our collaborators and suppliers;

 

loss of customers and uncertainties with continuation of customer relationships previously held by MIFS;

 

additional capital expenditures required to upgrade and operate the new fab;

 

additional costs relating to compliance with rules and regulations in Japan;

 

failure to achieve appropriate manufacturing yields or products to meet our or our customers’ specifications;

 

problems in ramping production and installing new equipment; and

 

loss of employees or labor issue.

Any of these risks may prevent us from realizing the benefits of the acquisition or reduce our ability to achieve profitability at the fab, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Currency fluctuations could increase our costs relative to our revenues, which could adversely affect our profitability.

More than half of our operating revenues are denominated in currencies other than New Taiwan dollars, primarily in U.S. dollars. On the other hand, more than half of our costs of direct labor, raw materials and overhead are incurred in New Taiwan dollars. Although historically we hedged a portion of the resulting net foreign exchange position through the use of foreign exchange spot transactions, or currency forward contracts, we are still affected by fluctuations in foreign exchange rates among the U.S. dollar, the New Taiwan dollar and other currencies. Any significant fluctuation in exchange rates may impact on our financial condition and the U.S. dollar value of the ADSs and the U.S. dollar value of any cash dividends we distributed, which could have an adverse effect on the market price of the ADSs.

12


Risks Relating to Manufacturing

Our manufacturing processes are highly complex, costly and potentially vulnerable to impurities and other disruptions that can significantly increase our costs and delay product shipments to our customers.

Our manufacturing processes are highly complex, require advanced and costly equipment and are continuously being modified to improve manufacturing yields and product performance. Impurities or other difficulties in the manufacturing process or defects with respect to equipment or supporting facilities can lower manufacturing yields, interrupt production or result in losses of products in process. As system complexity has increased and process technology has become more advanced, manufacturing tolerances have been reduced and requirements for precision have become even more demanding. Although we have been enhancing our manufacturing capabilities and efficiency, from time to time we have experienced production difficulties that have caused delivery delays and quality control problems, as is common in the semiconductor industry. In the past we have encountered the following problems:

 

capacity constraints due to changes in product mix or the delayed delivery of equipment critical to our production, including scanners, steppers and chemical stations;

construction delays during expansions of our clean rooms and other facilities;

difficulties in upgrading or expanding existing facilities;

manufacturing execution system or automatic transportation system failure;

unexpected breakdowns in our manufacturing equipment and/or related facilities;

changing or upgrading our process technologies;

raw materials shortages and impurities; and

delays in delivery and shortages of spare parts and in maintenance for our equipment and tools.

 

Should these problems repeat, we may suffer delays in delivery and/or loss of business and revenues. In addition, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to increase our manufacturing capacity and efficiency in the future to the same extent as in the past.

Our profit margin may substantially decline if we are unable to continuously improve our manufacturing yields, maintain high capacity utilization and optimize the technology mix of our silicon wafer production.

Our ability to maintain our profitability depends, in part, on our ability to:

 

maintain high capacity utilization, which is defined as the ratio of the wafer-out quantity of 8-inch wafer equivalents divided by our estimated total 8-inch equivalent capacity in a specified period. The estimated capacity figures may vary depending upon equipment delivery schedules, pace of migration to more advanced processing technologies and other factors affecting production ramp-ups;

 

maintain or improve our manufacturing yields, which is defined as the percentage of usable devices manufactured on a wafer; and

 

optimize the technology mix of our production by increasing the number of wafers manufactured by utilizing different processing technologies.

Our manufacturing yields directly affect our ability to attract and retain customers, as well as the price of our services. Our capacity utilization affects our operating results because a large percentage of our operating costs are fixed. Our technology mix affects utilization of our equipment and process technologies, as well as the prices we can charge, either of which can affect our margins. If we are unable to continuously improve our manufacturing yields, maintain high capacity utilization or optimize the technology mix of our wafer production, our profit margin may substantially decline.

13


We may have difficulty in ramping up production in accordance with our schedule, which could cause delays in product deliveries and decreases in manufacturing yields.

As is common in the semiconductor industry, we have from time to time experienced difficulties in ramping up production at new or existing facilities or effecting transitions to new manufacturing processes. As a result, we have suffered delays in product deliveries or reduced manufacturing yields. We may encounter similar difficulties in connection with:

 

the migration to more advanced process technologies, such as 45/40 and 28-nanometer and more advanced process technology;

 

the joint development with vendors for more powerful tools (both in production and inspection) needed in the future to meet advanced process technology requirements; and

 

the adoption of new materials in our manufacturing processes.

We may face construction delays, interruptions, infrastructure failure and delays in upgrading or expanding existing facilities, or changing our process technologies, any of which might adversely affect our production schedule. Our failure to achieve our production schedule could delay the time required to recover our investments and seriously affect our profitability.

Our production schedules could be delayed and we may lose customers if we are unable to obtain raw materials and equipment in a timely manner.

We depend on our suppliers for raw materials. To maintain competitive manufacturing operations, we must obtain from our suppliers, in a timely manner, sufficient quantities of quality materials at acceptable prices. Although we source our raw materials from several suppliers, a small number of these suppliers account for a substantial amount of our supply of raw materials because of the consistent quality of their products. For example, in 2018, 2019 and 2020, we purchased a majority of our silicon wafers from four makers, Shin-Etsu Handotai Corporation, or Shin-Etsu, GlobalWafers, Siltronic and Sumco Group (including Sumco Corporation and Formosa Sumco Technology Corporation). We may have long-term contracts with most of our suppliers if necessary. From time to time, our suppliers have extended lead time or limited the supply of required materials to us because of capacity constraints. Consequently, from time to time, we have experienced difficulty in obtaining the quantities of raw materials we need on a timely basis.

 

In addition, from time to time we may reject materials that do not meet our specifications and quality standards, resulting in declines in output or manufacturing yields. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain sufficient quantities of raw materials and other supplies in a timely manner. If the supply of materials is substantially diminished or if there are significant increases in the costs of raw materials, we may be forced to incur additional costs to acquire sufficient quantities of raw materials to sustain our operations, which may increase our marginal costs and reduce profitability.

We also depend on a limited number of manufacturers and vendors that make and maintain the complex equipment we use in our manufacturing processes. We also rely on these manufacturers and vendors to improve our technology to meet our customers’ demands as technology improves. In periods of unpredictable and highly diversified market demand, the lead time from order to delivery of this equipment can be as long as six to twelve months. If there are delays in the delivery of equipment or in the availability or performance of necessary maintenance, or if there are increases in the cost of equipment, it could cause us to delay our introduction of new manufacturing capacity or technologies and delay product deliveries, which may result in the loss of customers and revenues.

We may be subject to the risk of loss due to fire because the materials we use in our manufacturing processes are highly flammable.

We use highly flammable materials such as silane and hydrogen in our manufacturing processes and may therefore be subject to the risk of loss arising from fires. The risk of fire associated with these materials cannot be completely eliminated. We maintain insurance policies to reduce losses caused by fire, including business interruption insurance. However, our insurance coverage is subject to deductibles and self-insured retention and may not be sufficient to cover all of our potential losses. If any of our fabs were to be damaged or cease operations as a result of a fire, it would temporarily reduce manufacturing capacity and reduce revenues.

We and many of our customers and suppliers are vulnerable to natural disasters and other events outside of our control, which may seriously disrupt our operations.

Most of our assets and many of our customers and suppliers are located in certain parts of Taiwan. Our operations and the operations of our customers and suppliers are vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, droughts, power losses and similar events that affect the locations of our operations. The occurrence of any of these events could interrupt our services and cause severe damages to wafers in process, or cause significant business disruptions. For example, given the prolonged period in the lack of rainfall particularly acute in southern Taiwan which may impact our manufacturing capacity and may cause us to lose important customers, therefore may have

14


a potentially adverse and material impact on our operational and financial performance. Besides the potential risks that may be caused by water shortage, in early 2016, we experienced a severe earthquake which adversely affected our wafer manufacturing operations at our 300mm Fab 12A in Taiwan. Although we had adopted practices in compliance with ISO 22301 business continuity standards which ensured the safety of our employees and minimized supply disruptions resulting from the earthquake and we recovered partially the losses resulting for this earthquake from our insurance policy, there is no guarantee that our business continuity practices will always be effective. There is also no guarantee that any future damages or business loss from severe natural disasters will be covered by such insurance, that we will be able to collect from our insurance carriers, should we choose to claim under our insurance policies, or that such coverage will be sufficient. Furthermore, the cost of insurance policies may increase in the future that will make it more expensive for us to obtain and maintain adequate insurance policies. In addition, our manufacturing facilities have occasionally experienced insufficient power supplies, and our operations have been disrupted.

Our operations may be delayed or interrupted and our business could suffer if we violate environmental, safety and health, or ESH, regulations.

The semiconductor manufacturing process requires the use of various gases, chemicals, hazardous materials and other substances such as solvents and sulfuric acid which may have an impact on the environment. We are always subject to ESH regulations, and a failure to manage the use, storage, transportation, emission, discharge, recycling or disposal of raw materials or to comply with these ESH regulations could result in (i) regulatory penalties, fines and other legal liabilities, (ii) suspension of production or delays in operation and capacity expansion, (iii) a decrease in our sales, (iv) an increase in pollution cleaning fees and other operation costs, or (v) damage to our public image, any of which could harm our business. In addition, as ESH regulations are becoming more comprehensive and stringent, we may incur a greater amount of capital expenditures in technology innovation and materials substitution in order to comply with such regulations, which may adversely affect our results of operations.

 

Climate change may negatively affect our business.

There is increasing concern that climate change is occurring and may have dramatic effects on human activity without aggressive remediation steps. A modest change in temperature would result in increased coastal flooding, changing precipitation patterns and increasing risk of extinction for the world’s species. Public expectations for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could result in increased energy, transportation and raw material costs, which raised stakeholder’s concern and caused several international standards and questionnaires being revised to request enterprises disclosing their climate-related risks and financial impacts. Consequently, our climate change risk assessment tool was developed and related departments participated in the identification work. Adaptation and mitigation measures are developed in response to the identified climate change risk.

We have a state-of-the-art 12-inch wafer fab in Singapore. The Singapore government introduced a carbon tax from 2019 onwards, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to promote this measure. In Taiwan, there is a plan to modify the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act that the collection of carbon tax/carbon fee may also be implemented in Taiwan; however, the current policy is not yet clear. There are additional regulations under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act and a revised Renewable Energy Development Act that imposes fines for greenhouse gas GHG emissions exceeding the total controlled amount, and either mandatory green electricity certification purchase or payment for inadequate proportion of green electricity use. We have transformed the carbon emissions into potential carbon costs based on the analysis of the carbon risk scenarios of each fab, and have actively carried out a phased greenhouse gas reduction plan. The measures for the use of clean energy include the reduction of raw materials, setting of high-efficiency greenhouse gas breakdown equipment, etc., and building solar energy systems. We take an aggressive stance in reducing the impact of carbon emissions and taxes, enhancing its operational competitive advantage.

As electricity use increases across Taiwan Science Parks, the local government has continued to encourage companies to utilize renewable energy resources. Government authorities have enacted regulations requiring Taiwan R.O.C. companies with significant energy consumption requirements, such as UMC, to derive 10% of the capacity under contract from renewable energy by 2025, but companies that make commitment to achieve renewable energy goals earlier are permitted to comply with a lower threshold of requirement. UMC plans to achieve required commitment in contracted renewable energy capacity requirements by 2023, two years before the 2025 mandate, therefore UMC will be required to derive 8% of its capacity under contract from renewable energy resources under such regulations. To fulfill this mandate, companies including UMC must develop and implement renewable energy solutions such as installing solar-powered resources or outsourcing from renewable energy vendors. As a result, we anticipate in the next few years that the adoption of higher renewable power resources will result in an increase in purchases of renewable energy consumption, which will impact UMC’s financial conditions and results of operations.

If the we experience unforeseen interruptions in renewable generators (or back up power generators) or issues arising from renewable energy, especially during peak power consumption periods, the power supply for our manufacturing facility may be disrupted, which could adversely affect our business operation, financial conditions and results of operations.

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Disruptions in the international trading environment may seriously decrease our international sales.

A substantial portion of our operating revenues is derived from sales to customers located in countries other than the countries where our fabs are located. We operated fabs in Taiwan, Singapore, China and Japan. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, we generated approximately 35.0%, 27.9% and 27.0% of our operating revenues, respectively, from countries other than those where our fabs are located. We expect sales to customers from countries outside of Taiwan, Singapore, China and Japan will continue to represent a significant portion of our operating revenues. The success and profitability of our international activities depend on certain factors beyond our control, such as general economic conditions, labor conditions, political stability, tariff, tax laws, import duties, export control and foreign exchange controls of the countries in which we sell our products, and the political and economic relationships between these countries. As a result, our manufacturing services will continue to be vulnerable to disruptions in the international trading environment, including adverse changes in foreign government regulations, political unrest and international economic downturns.

These disruptions in the international trading environment affect the demand for our manufacturing services and change the terms upon which we provide our manufacturing services overseas, which could seriously decrease our international sales.

 

Political, Economic, Regulatory and Legal Risks

We face substantial political risks associated with doing business in Taiwan, particularly due to the tense relationship between the R.O.C. and the People’s Republic of China, or the PRC, that could negatively affect the value of your investment.

Our principal executive offices and most of our assets and operations are located in Taiwan. Accordingly, our business, financial condition and results of operations and the market price of our common shares and the ADSs may be affected by changes in R.O.C. governmental policies, taxation, inflation or interest rates and by social instability and diplomatic and social developments in or affecting Taiwan which are outside of our control. Taiwan has a unique international political status. Since 1949, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland have been separately governed. The PRC claims that it is the sole government in China and that Taiwan is part of China. Although significant economic and cultural relations have been established between the R.O.C. and the PRC in the past few years, such as the adoption of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and memorandum regarding cross-strait financial supervision, we cannot assure you that relations between the R.O.C. and PRC will not become strained again. For example, the PRC government has refused to renounce the use of military force to gain control over Taiwan and, in March 2005, passed an Anti-Secession Law that authorized non-peaceful means and other necessary measures should Taiwan move to gain independence from the PRC. Past developments in relations between the R.O.C. and the PRC have on occasions depressed the market prices of the securities of companies in the R.O.C. Such initiatives and actions are commonly viewed as having a detrimental effect to reunification efforts between the R.O.C. and the PRC. Relations between the R.O.C. and the PRC and other factors affecting military, political or economic conditions in Taiwan could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations, as well as the market price and the liquidity of our securities.

Our business operations and financial conditions may be affected by governmental legal proceedings and related litigation.

In November 2018, the Department of Justice of the United States, or DOJ, unsealed an indictment against UMC, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd. or Jinhua, and three individuals, including one current employee and two former employees of UMC, alleging that UMC and others conspired to steal trade secrets of Micron, and used that information to develop technology that was subsequently transferred to Jinhua. DOJ also filed a civil complaint enjoining the aforementioned defendants from exporting to the U.S. any products containing DRAM manufactured by us or Jinhua and preventing the defendants from transferring the trade secrets to anyone else. In October 2020, DOJ and UMC entered into a plea agreement for the above-mentioned proceeding, pursuant to which DOJ agreed to dismiss the original indictment and a related civil case against UMC, and in exchange UMC agreed to pay a fine in the amount of $60 million. The Plea Agreement also provides that UMC will cooperate with DOJ and will be subject to a three-year term of non-supervised probation. As a result of such DOJ legal proceeding, in September 2019, a shareholder securities class action law suit was filed in the United States District Court Southern District of New York against us and certain of our senior officials on the count of violation of Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. In addition, we continue to be involved in certain civil trade secret litigations in Taiwan and U.S. arising from the dispute with Micron.

As a result of the legal proceeding at DOJ and the shareholder litigation, we have incurred significant costs to defend and respond to these actions, including substantial legal fees, which has adversely affected our results of operations. In addition, we expect to continue to incur significant cost to defend ongoing litigation and government proceedings, and outcome of which is uncertain. We may also incur addition costs and expenses to implement additional compliance programs or other measures to mitigate and eliminate risk of similar disputes and litigation.

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Our business depends on the support of the R.O.C. government and other government authorities in countries and regions where we operate, and a decrease in these supports may reduce our net income.

We, like many R.O.C. technology companies, have benefited from substantial tax incentives provided by the R.O.C. government and other government authorities in countries and regions where we operate under various different tax incentive programs, which are subject to the review and approval by the relevant tax authorities on the case by case basis. Although we will make our best efforts to meet the requirements under different incentive schemes and make the relevant applications, we cannot assure you that the tax authorities will grant the approval as we apply. Our application may be denied for reasons outside of our control, including changes in tax incentive regulations and criteria for qualifications. Additionally, the tax incentives granted, taken as a whole, may not be as favorable to us as those currently in effect.  If any of the above occurs, our net income may decrease.

 

Our future tax obligations may adversely affect our net income.

We operate in various jurisdictions, which involve different tax regimes and application of tax regulations. Applicable taxes for which we make provisions could increase significantly as a result of changes in applicable tax laws in the countries where we operate. On February 7, 2018, the amendments to the Income Tax Act of the R.O.C. were promulgated with retrospective effect from January 1, 2018. According to the amendments, the corporate income tax rate is raised from 17% to 20%, and 10% undistributed earnings tax is lowered to 5%. The change of corporate income tax rate could increase our future tax obligation and have an adverse effect on our net income.

Some of the above-mentioned tax incentives maybe subject to the investment milestone and comply with the terms and conditions set forth in the agreements with the government. Failure to fulfill the investment milestone or the terms and conditions would result in termination or revocation of the incentives. The local authority may have the rights to revoke these incentive rewards even if the company received tax benefits that it had enjoyed during the applicable period by the applicable tax laws or regulations.

Compliance with U.S. Conflict Minerals Law may affect our ability or the ability of our suppliers to purchase raw materials at an effective cost.

We are subject to U.S. disclosure rules on conflict minerals adopted by the SEC, pursuant to which we are required to conduct due diligence of our supply chain and file an annual report to disclose whether conflict minerals utilized by us originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country. We have filed the conflict mineral disclosure report every year since 2014 in order to comply with such rules, we will continue to verify the relevant information with our vendors and suppliers and file the required report but we cannot assure you that we will be able to collect all the information required to comply with such regulations. If we are not able to confirm such information with vendors, or if we discover that some vendors are sourcing conflict minerals from prohibited countries, we may decide or be required to discontinue our relationship with such vendors, which may negatively impact our ability to obtain adequate supplies of materials needed for the manufacturing of our products and services. The failure to obtain necessary information or to maintain adequate supplies of materials from supply chains outside the DRC and adjoining countries may delay our production, increasing the risk of losing customers and business.

Similarly, many jurisdictions have promulgated regulations with the intention to deter human rights violations within supply chains. Possible violation by our suppliers may not be known to us and is beyond our control. While we believe our suppliers comply with applicable human rights requirements, there can be no guarantee that they will continue to do so, or that we will be able to obtain the necessary information on their activities to comply with whatever future requirements may be enacted.

Cyberattacks and data security breaches may adversely affect our operations and damage our reputation.

Our business and operations depend upon reliable and uninterrupted information technology services, including the integrity of our web-based and electronic customer service systems. Although we have implemented what we believe are reasonable precautions to prevent accidental and/or malicious disruption of these services, there can be no assurance that our preventive measures will preclude failure of the information technology, web-based and electronic customer service systems upon which our business depends. Our systems might also be damaged by natural or man-made events or by computer viruses, physical or electronics break-ins, cyber-attacks and similar disruptions affecting the global Internet. Disruption of these systems could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and to serve our customers, thereby negatively affecting our financial performance.

In addition, in the course of our operations, we receive confidential information from and about our customers, vendors, partners and employees. Although we take what we believe are reasonable precautions to protect such information from disclosure to or interruption, there are no guarantees our precautions will prevent accidental or malicious access to such information. In the event of such unauthorized access, our reputation could be adversely affected, customers and others may not entrust us with their confidential information, which would negatively affect our operations, and we may incur costs to remedy the breach. Furthermore, the loss of confidential information of third parties may result in legal claims against us, in which case we will incur additional costs and expenses to defend such litigation.

 

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Moreover, many jurisdictions have proposed stringent regulations concerning data privacy, and such regulations may impose additional legal requirements that make our operations more expensive and/or less efficient. In addition, should we experience a breakdown in our systems or failure in our precautions that results in a violation of such regulations, we may suffer adverse customer reaction and face governmental penalties.

Intellectual property disputes could result in lengthy and costly arbitration, litigation or licensing expenses or prevent us from providing services to customers.

As is typical in the semiconductor industry, we or our customers may receive claims of infringement from time to time or otherwise become aware of potentially relevant patents or other intellectual property rights held by other parties that may cover some of our technology, products and services or those of our end customers. The semiconductor industry is characterized by vigorous protection and pursuit of intellectual property rights which has resulted in protracted and expensive arbitration and litigation for many companies.

Any litigation or arbitration regarding patents or other intellectual property could be costly and time consuming and could divert our management and key personnel from our business operations. We have in the past and may from time to time in the future become involved in litigation that requires our management to commit significant resources and time.

Because of the complexity of the technology involved and the uncertainty of litigation generally, any intellectual property arbitration or litigation involves significant risks. Any claim of intellectual property infringement against us may require us to:

 

incur substantial legal and personnel expenses to defend the claims or to negotiate for a settlement of claims;

 

pay substantial damages or settlement to the party claiming infringement;

 

refrain from further development or sale of our products;

 

enter into costly royalty or license agreements that might not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all;

 

cross-license our technology with a competitor to resolve an infringement claim, which could weaken our ability to compete with that competitor;

 

indemnify our distributors, end customers, licensees and others from the costs of and damages of infringement claims; and

 

curtail or modify our operations in response to regulatory inquiries relating to the alleged infringement, which may result in additional costs and expenses.

In addition, because we have a global operation, we may be subject to intellectual property disputes and litigation in foreign jurisdictions with divergent laws and practices, which will make it more costly and time consuming for us to initiate or defend such litigations. Furthermore, if we are engaged in a high profile intellectual property dispute or litigation in foreign countries with stringent national security regulations, such as the U.S., we may be subject to heightened scrutiny by government agencies in such countries, which may lead to adverse actions taken by such government agencies. See risk factor entitled “Our business operations may be affected by government legal proceedings and related litigation.

Any intellectual property claim or litigation could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

Geopolitical and economic conflicts between the United States and China may adversely affect our business

 

Geopolitical conflicts and tensions between the United States and China have threatened and destabilized trading relationships and economic activities between the two countries. Because we have operations in both countries, such conflicts and tensions may negatively impact our business. At various times during recent years, the United States and China have had disagreements over political and economic issues, including but not limited to, the recent imposition of tariffs by the U.S. on goods imported from China and to the U.S. government's efforts to restrict transfer and sharing of technologies, including semiconductor technologies, between the two countries. In addition, the U.S. government may enact new and more restrictive export control regulations that may reduce our ability to ship and sell products to certain customers in China and Asia and increase our cost to implement additional measures to comply with such new regulations. In addition, disagreements between the United States and China with respect to their political, military or economic policies toward Taiwan may contribute to further controversies. These controversies and trade frictions could have a material adverse effect on our business by, among other things, making it more difficult for us to coordinate our operations between the United States and China, causing a reduction in the demand for our products by customers in the United States or China and reducing our profitability due to increasing cost of compliance.

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Risks Related to the Common Shares and ADSs and Our Trading Markets

Restrictions on the ability to deposit common shares into our ADS program may adversely affect the liquidity and price of the ADSs.

The ability to deposit common shares into our ADS program is restricted by R.O.C. law. Under current R.O.C. law, no person or entity, including you and us, may deposit common shares into our ADS program without specific approval of the R.O.C. FSC except for the deposit of the common shares into our ADS program and for the issuance of additional ADSs in connection with:

 

(A)

distribution of share dividends or free distribution of our common shares;

 

 

(B)

exercise of the preemptive rights of ADS holders applicable to the common shares evidenced by ADSs in the event of capital increases for cash; or

 

(C)

delivery of our common shares which are purchased in the domestic market in Taiwan directly by the investor or through the depositary or are already in the possession of the investor to the custodian for deposit into our ADS program, subject to the following conditions: (a) the re-issuance is permitted under the deposit agreement and custody agreement, (b) the depositary may accept deposit of those common shares and issue the corresponding number of ADSs with regard to such deposit only if the total number of ADSs outstanding after the issuance does not exceed the number of ADSs previously approved by the R.O.C. FSC, plus any ADSs issued pursuant to the events described in (A) and (B) above and (c) this deposit may only be made to the extent previously issued ADSs have been withdrawn.

As a result of the limited ability to deposit common shares into our ADS program, the prevailing market price of our ADSs on the NYSE may differ from the prevailing market price of the equivalent number of our common shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Holders of our ADSs will not have the same proposal or voting rights as the holders of our common shares, which may affect the value of your investment.

Except for treasury common shares and common shares held by our subsidiaries which meet certain criteria provided under the R.O.C. Company Act, each common share is generally entitled to one vote and no voting discount will be applied. However, except as described in this Annual Report and in the deposit agreement, holders of our ADSs will not be able to exercise voting rights attached to the common shares evidenced by our ADSs on an individual basis. Holders of our ADSs will appoint the depositary or its nominee as their representative to exercise the voting rights attached to the common shares represented by the ADSs. The voting rights attached to the common shares evidenced by our ADSs must be exercised as to all matters brought to a vote of stockholders collectively in the same manner.

Moreover, holders of the ADSs do not have individual rights to propose any matter for stockholders’ votes at our stockholders’ meetings. However, holders of at least 51% of the ADSs outstanding at the relevant record date may request the depositary to submit to us one proposal per year for consideration at our annual ordinary stockholders’ meeting, provided that such proposal meets certain submission criteria and limitations, including the language and the length of the proposal, the time of submission, the required certification or undertakings, and the attendance at the annual ordinary stockholders’ meeting. However, if the proposal submitted by the depositary does not qualify, we have no obligation to allow the depositary to modify such proposal.

Furthermore, if holders of at least 51% of the ADSs outstanding at the relevant record date instruct the depositary to vote in the same manner regarding a resolution, including election of directors, the depositary will appoint our Chairman, or his designee, to represent the ADS holders at the stockholders’ meetings and to vote the common shares represented by the ADSs outstanding in the manner so instructed. If by the relevant record date, the depositary has not received instructions from holders of ADSs holding at least 51% of the ADSs to vote in the same manner for any resolution, then the holders will be deemed to have instructed the depositary to authorize and appoint our Chairman, or his designee, to vote all the common shares represented by ADSs at his sole discretion, which may not be in your interest. As a result of these rules and restrictions, holders of ADSs have limited ability to vote or be represented with respect to any actions to be taken by stockholders of the Company.

The rights of holders of our ADSs to participate in our rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to their holdings.

We may from time to time distribute rights to our stockholders, including rights to acquire our securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not offer those rights to ADS holders unless both the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to ADS holders are either registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or exempt from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. Accordingly, holders of our ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in their holdings.

 

19


 

Changes in exchange controls that restrict your ability to convert proceeds received from your ownership of ADSs may have an adverse effect on the value of your investment.

Your ability to convert proceeds received from your ownership of ADSs depends on existing and future exchange control regulations of the Republic of China. Under the current laws of the Republic of China, an ADS holder or the depositary, without obtaining further approvals from the R.O.C. Central Bank of China, or the CBC, or any other governmental authority or agency of the Republic of China, may convert NT dollars into other currencies, including U.S. dollars, in respect of:

 

the proceeds of the sale of common shares represented by ADSs or received as share dividends with respect to the common shares and deposited into the depositary receipt facility; and

 

any cash dividends or distributions received from the common shares represented by ADSs.

In addition, the depositary may also convert into NT dollars incoming payments for purchases of common shares for deposit in the depositary receipt facility against the creation of additional ADSs. If you withdraw the common shares underlying your ADSs and become a holder of our common shares, you may convert into NT dollars subscription payments for rights offerings. The depositary may be required to obtain foreign exchange approval from the CBC on a payment-by-payment basis for conversion from NT dollars into foreign currencies of the proceeds from the sale of subscription rights of new common shares. Although it is expected that the CBC will grant approval as a routine matter, required approvals may not be obtained in a timely manner, or at all.

Under the Republic of China Foreign Exchange Control Law, the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China may, without prior notice but subject to subsequent legislative approval, impose foreign exchange controls or other restrictions in the event of, among other things, a material change in international economic conditions.

Our public stockholders may have more difficulty protecting their interests than they would as stockholders of a U.S. corporation.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our articles of incorporation and bylaws governing R.O.C. corporations. The rights of our stockholders to bring stockholders’ suits against us or our board of directors under R.O.C. law are much more limited than those of the stockholders of U.S. corporations. Therefore, our public stockholders may have more difficulty protecting their interests in connection with actions taken by our management, members of our board of directors or controlling stockholders than they would as stockholders of a U.S. corporation. Please refer to “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Rights to Bring Stockholders’ Suits” included elsewhere in this Annual Report for a detailed discussion of the rights of our stockholders to bring legal actions against us or our directors under R.O.C. law.

Holders of our ADSs will be required to appoint several local agents in Taiwan if they withdraw common shares from our ADS program and become our stockholders, which may make ownership burdensome.

Non-R.O.C. persons wishing to withdraw common shares represented by their ADSs from our ADS program and hold our common shares represented by those ADSs are required to, among other things, appoint a local agent or representative with qualifications set forth by the applicable R.O.C. laws and regulations to open a securities trading account with a local brokerage firm, pay R.O.C. taxes, remit funds and exercise stockholders’ rights. In addition, the withdrawing holders are also required to appoint a custodian bank or a securities firm with qualifications set forth by the R.O.C. FSC to hold the securities in safekeeping, make confirmations, settle trades and report all relevant information, in which the securities firm is appointed as the custodian, the payments shall be held in safekeeping in a special account opened in a bank approved by the R.O.C. FSC. Without making this appointment and opening of the accounts, the withdrawing holders would not be able to subsequently sell our common shares withdrawn from a depositary receipt facility on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Under R.O.C. law and regulations, except under limited circumstances, PRC persons are not permitted to withdraw the common shares underlying the ADSs or to register as a stockholder of our company. Under the Regulations Governing Securities Investment and Futures Trading in Taiwan by Mainland Area Investors promulgated by the R.O.C. Executive Yuan on April 30, 2009, as amended, only qualified domestic institutional investors, or QDIIs and limited entities or individuals, are permitted to withdraw the common shares underlying the ADSs, subject to compliance with the withdrawal relevant requirements, and only QDIIs, and limited entities or individuals who meet the qualification requirements set forth therein are permitted to own common shares of an R.O.C. company listed for trading on the Taiwan Stock Exchange or the Taipei Exchange, provided that among other restrictions generally applicable to investments made by PRC persons, their shareholdings are subject to certain restrictions as set forth in the abovementioned regulations and that such mainland area investors shall apply for a separate approval if their investment, individually or in aggregate, amounts to or exceeds 10 percent of the common shares of any R.O.C. listed company.

 

You may not be able to enforce a judgment of a foreign court in the R.O.C.

We are a company limited by shares incorporated under the R.O.C. Company Act. Most of our assets and most of our directors, executive officers and experts named in the registration statement are located in Taiwan. As a result, it may be difficult for you to enforce judgments obtained outside Taiwan upon us or such persons in Taiwan. We have been advised by our R.O.C. counsel that

20


any judgment obtained against us in any court outside the R.O.C. arising out of or relating to the ADSs will not be enforced by R.O.C. courts if any of the following situations shall apply to such final judgment:

 

the court rendering the judgment does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter according to R.O.C. law;

 

the judgment or the court procedure resulting in the judgment is contrary to the public order or good morals of the R.O.C.;

 

the judgment was rendered by default, except where the summons or order necessary for the commencement of the action was legally served on us within the jurisdiction of the court rendering the judgment within a reasonable period of time or with judicial assistance of the R.O.C.; or

 

judgments of the R.O.C. courts are not recognized in the jurisdiction of the court rendering the judgment on a reciprocal basis.

We may be considered a passive foreign investment company, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences for U.S. investors.

We do not believe that we were a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for 2020 and we do not expect to become one in the future, although there can be no assurance in this regard. Characterization as a PFIC could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to you if you are a U.S. investor.

For example, if we are a PFIC, our U.S. investors may become subject to increased tax liabilities under U.S. federal income tax laws and regulations and will become subject to burdensome reporting requirements. The determination of whether or not we are a PFIC is made on an annual basis and will depend on the composition of our income and assets from time to time. Specifically, for any taxable year we will be classified as a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes if either (i) 75% or more of our gross income in a taxable year is passive income or (ii) the average percentage of our assets (which includes cash) by value in a taxable year which produce or are held for the production of passive income is at least 50%. The calculation of the value of our assets will be based, in part, on the quarterly market value of common shares and ADSs, which is subject to change. See “Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations For U.S. Persons—Passive Foreign Investment Company.”

 

The trading price of the common shares and ADSs may be adversely affected by the general activities of the Taiwan Stock Exchange and U.S. stock exchanges, the trading price of our common shares, increases in interest rates and the economic performance of Taiwan.

Our common shares are listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The trading price of our ADSs may be affected by the trading price of our common shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and the economic performance of Taiwan. The Taiwan Stock Exchange is smaller and, as a market, more volatile than the securities markets in the United States and some European countries. The Taiwan Stock Exchange has experienced substantial fluctuations in the prices and volumes of sales of listed securities, and there are currently limits on the range of daily price movements on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The Taiwan Stock Exchange is particularly volatile during times of political instability, such as when the relationship between Taiwan and the PRC becomes tense. Moreover, the Taiwan Stock Exchange has experienced disturbance caused by market manipulation, insider trading and payment defaults, and the government of Taiwan has from time to time intervened in the stock market by purchasing stocks listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The recurrence of these or similar events could deteriorate the price and liquidity of our common shares and ADSs.

The market price of the ADSs may also be affected by general trading activities on the U.S. stock exchanges, which recently have experienced significant volatility with respect to trading prices of technology companies. Fluctuation in interest rates and other general economic conditions may also influence the market price of the ADSs.

ITEM 4

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.

History and Development of the Company

Our legal and commercial name is United Microelectronics Corporation, commonly known as “UMC”. We were incorporated under the R.O.C. Company Law as a company limited by shares in May 1980 and our common shares are listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange since 1985. Our principal executive office is located at No. 3 Li-Hsin Road II, Hsinchu Science Park, Hsinchu, Taiwan, Republic of China, and our telephone number is 886-3-578-2258. Our Internet website address is www.umc.com. The information on our website does not form part of this Annual Report. Our ADSs have been listed on the NYSE under the symbol “UMC” since September 19, 2000. In 2020, we were ranked among the top 5% of companies for a fifth consecutive year in the Corporate Governance Evaluation conducted by the Taiwan Stock Exchange and Taipei Exchange. The assessment was conducted across over 1,400 public companies in Taiwan.

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We are one of the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundries and a leader in semiconductor manufacturing process technologies. Our primary business is the manufacture, or “fabrication”, of semiconductors, sometimes called “chips” or “integrated circuits”, for others. Using our own proprietary processes and techniques, we make chips to the design specifications of our many customers. Our company maintains a diversified customer base across industries, including communication devices, consumer electronics, computer, and others, while continuing to focus on manufacturing for high growth, large volume applications, including networking, telecommunications, internet, multimedia, PCs and graphics. We sell and market mainly wafers which in turn are used in a number of different applications by our customers. The following table presented the percentages of our wafer sales by application for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

Application

 

2018

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

 

%

 

 

%

 

 

%

 

Communication

 

 

45.2

 

 

 

52.2

 

 

 

52.1

 

Consumer

 

 

28.6

 

 

 

26.4

 

 

 

24.3

 

Computer

 

 

16.3

 

 

 

13.6

 

 

 

13.9

 

Others

 

 

9.9

 

 

 

7.8

 

 

 

9.7

 

Total

 

 

100.0

 

 

 

100.0

 

 

 

100.0

 

 

We focus on the development of leading manufacturing process technologies designed for mass production. We were among the first in the foundry industry to enter into commercial operation with such advanced capabilities as producing integrated circuits with line widths of 0.25, 0.18, 0.15, 0.13 micron and 90, 65/55, 45/40, 28, 22 and 14 nanometer. The arrival of 5G technologies have increased the penetration rate in smartphones, wearables, and other devices associated with the Internet of Things which will spur a new wave of semiconductor related applications driving long term silicon content and wafer demand. More powerful semiconductors are required to drive multimedia functions (e.g., processing visual data) and to resolve network bandwidth issues. At the same time, the trend towards portable personal electronic devices have resulted in products that are becoming physically smaller and consuming less power. Process technology must also have the ability to shrink form factors of products aggressively to cater to this trend. Such technology must demonstrate the ability to integrate multiple functions, reduce the size of components needed for operation and lower IC power consumption. Dedicated semiconductor foundries need to achieve this process improvement and at the same time develop multiple process technologies to satisfy varying needs of communication, consumer and computer products. We believe our proprietary process technologies will enable us to continue to offer our customers significant performance benefits for their products, faster time-to-market production, cost savings and other competitive advantages.

We provide high quality service based on our performance. In today’s marketplace, we believe it is important to make available not only the most effective and flexible processes, but also the best solutions to enable customers to design integrated circuits capable of incorporating entire systems on a chip. Through these efforts, we intend to be the foundry solution for SoC customer needs. To achieve this goal, we believe it is necessary to timely develop and offer the IP and design support that customers need to ensure their specific design blocks function seamlessly with the other design blocks of the integrated circuit system in the manner intended. Accordingly, we have a dedicated IP and design support team that focuses on timely development of IP and processes specifically designed for our customers in order to ensure products that operate and perform as intended. Our design service team actively cooperates with our customers and vendors to identify, early in the product/market cycle, the offerings needed to ensure that our coordinated offerings are available in a streamlined and easy-to-use manner. This ensures the timely delivery of service offerings from the earliest time in the customer design cycle, resulting in a shorter time-to-volume production. We also provide our customers with real-time online access to production data and specifications, resulting in superior communication and efficiency. We further address our customers’ needs using our advanced technology and proven methodology to achieve fast cycle time, high yield, production flexibility and close customer communication. For example, we select and configure our clean rooms and equipment and develop our processes to maximize the flexibility in meeting and adapting to rapidly changing customer and industry needs. As a result, we believe that our cycle time, or the period from customer order to wafer delivery, and our responsiveness to customer request changes are among the fastest in the dedicated foundry industry. We believe our leading technology and high volume capability is a major competitive advantage.

Our technology and service have attracted two principal types of foundry industry customers: fabless design companies and integrated device manufacturers. Fabless design companies design, develop and distribute proprietary semiconductor products but do not maintain internal manufacturing capacity. Instead, these companies depend on third party manufacturing sources. Integrated device manufacturers, in contrast, generally have integrated internally some or all functions—manufacturing as well as design, development, sales and distribution.

Our primary customers, in terms of our sales revenues, include premier integrated device manufacturers, such as Texas Instruments and Intel Mobile, plus leading fabless design companies, such as MediaTek, Realtek, Qualcomm and Novatek. In 2020, our company’s top ten customers accounted for 53.7% of our operating revenues. We believe our success in attracting these customers is a direct result of our commitment to high quality service and our intense focus on customer needs and performance.

22


On August 29, 2014, we and Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited, or Fujitsu, announced an agreement where we invested ¥5 billion as an initial investment and received approximately 9.3% of the issued and outstanding share capital to become a minority shareholder of a newly formed subsidiary of Fujitsu named Mie Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited, or MIFS, which will operate a 300mm wafer manufacturing facility located in Kuwana, Mie, Japan. On December 16, 2015, our board further approved the acquisition of additional newly issued shares of MIFS with an aggregate investment amount of NT$1.36 billion, which increased our ownership interest in MIFS to approximately 15.9%. Through this relationship with us, MIFS was able to expand its business globally as a pure-play foundry company by strengthening its production and development capacity in a cost competitive manner. On June 29, 2018, our board approved the acquisition of the remaining 84.1% in MIFS from Fujitsu and the transaction was completed on October 1, 2019 at a consideration of JPY¥54.4 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, MIFS became one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries and was renamed United Semiconductor Japan Corporation, or USJC. We believe the acquisition of USJC aligns with our growth strategy which prioritizes on differentiating process technologies to fulfill the growing market demand across logic and specialty markets, and the acquisition provided us with an enhanced capability to gain market share in key geographical areas, including Japan. Currently, the 300mm fab based in Japan provides a capacity of approximately 33,000 per month, specializing in the manufacturing of 90nm, 65nm and 40nm products.

In 2014, we established United Semiconductor (Xiamen) Co., Ltd., or USCXM, based in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China that focuses on 12-inch wafer foundry services. USCXM manufactures 12-inch wafers and offer 28 nanometer, 40 nanometer and 55 nanometer process technologies. We obtained the initial investment approval from the R.O.C. government on December 31, 2014 with US$300 million invested by HJ (Hejian Technology Suzhou) and US$450 million by UMC. The initial groundbreaking event of USCXM took place in March 2015 and the grand opening ceremony took place in November 2016. In November 2017, we obtained approval from the R.O.C. government for a US$600 million capital investment in USCXM which was completed in September 2018. USCXM successfully commenced commercial mass production by the end of 2016 and has carried out production on both 40nm and 28nm technology nodes in 2017. On February 11, 2020, our subsidiary HeJian Technology’s board of directors approved an investment of US$500 million in USCXM over the next few years. Accordingly, in October 2020, HeJian Technology invested RMB¥1 billion (US$160 million) in USCXM. Our participation in USCXM complies with R.O.C. rules and regulations and will be subject to the review and approval by the relevant R.O.C. authorities.

On December 24, 2014, we transferred our 6-inch fabrication plant, or Fab 6A, including machinery equipment and building facilities to our subsidiary, Wavetek Microelectronics Corporation, or Wavetek, in order to further satisfy customer needs in the fast growing GaAs market and to improve the 6-inch fabrication operational efficiency among our group by fully utilizing the existing assets and resources. In April 2015, Wavetek had successfully entered into the silicon-based CMOS foundry business after it had fully acquired our 6-inch Fab 6A fixed assets and production lines. As of March 31, 2021, we held approximately 81.27% of issued and outstanding equity of Wavetek, making us its largest shareholder.

On December 31, 2018, we acquired the remaining equity interest in Best Elite International Limited, a British Virgin Islands corporation, or Best Elite, and our cumulative ownership in Best Elite became 100% as a result. Best Elite is a holding company that has 100% ownership of HeJian Technology.

Please refer to “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources” for a discussion of our capital expenditures in the past three years and the plan for the current year.

On April 25, 2018, to further integrate the resources pursuant to our investment strategy, our board and the board of our subsidiaries, Fortune Venture Capital Corp. or FORTUNE, and UMC New Business Investment Corp., or NBI, approved an organizational restructure plan, under which NBI will be merged into FORTUNE. FORTUNE is the surviving company and assumes all the assets and liabilities from NBI when the merger became effective on July 1, 2018.

On October 30, 2019, FORTUNE made a one-time private placement investment in Taiwan Semiconductor Company by paying a consideration of approximately NT$300 million for the purchase of 6,741,000 shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Company at a unit price of NT$44.50.

Our Strategy

To maintain and enhance our position as a market leader, we have adopted a business strategy with a focus on a partnership business model designed to accommodate our customers’ business needs and objectives and to promote their interests as our partners. We believe that our success and profitability are inseparable from the success of our customers. The goal in this business model is to create a network of partnerships or alliances among integrated device manufacturers, IP and design houses, as well as foundry

23


companies. We believe that we and our partners will benefit from the synergy generated through such long-term partnerships or alliances and the added value to be shared among the partners. The key elements of our strategy are:

Operate as a Customer-Driven Foundry. We plan to operate as a customer-driven foundry. The increasing complexity of 40 nanometer, 28 nanometer, and more advanced technologies has impacted the entire chip industry, as ICs can now be designed with greater gate density and higher performance while incorporating the functions of an entire system on a chip. These advanced designs have created a new proliferating market of advanced digital devices such as smart phones, tablets and notebooks, which have decreased in size but greatly increased in functionality. We collaborate closely with our customers as well as partners throughout the entire supply chain, including equipment, electronic design automation tool and IP vendors to work synergistically toward each customer’s SoC solution. We also possess experience and know-how in system design and architecture to integrate customer designs with advanced process technologies and IP. We believe the result is a higher rate of first-pass silicon success for our SoC solutions. Our customer-driven foundry solutions begin with a common logic-based platform, where designers can choose the process technologies and transistor options that best fit their specific application. From there, technologies such as radio frequency complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, or RF CMOS, and embedded Flash memories can be used to further fine-tune the process for customers’ individual needs. Furthermore, as IP has become critical resources for SoCs, our portfolio includes basic design building blocks as well as more complex IP of optimized portability and cost, developed both internally and by third-party partners. With advanced technology, a broad IP portfolio, system knowledge and advanced 300-millimeter manufacturing, we offer comprehensive solutions that help customers deliver successful results in a timely fashion.

Build up Customer-focused Partnership Business Model. We have focused on building partnership relationships with our customers, and we strive to help our customers achieve their objectives through close cooperation. Unlike the traditional buy-and-sell relationship between a foundry and its customers, we believe our partnership business model will help us understand our customers’ requirements and, accordingly, better accommodate our customers’ needs in a number of ways, such as customized processes and services that optimize the entire value chain (not just the foundry portion) and IP-related support. We believe that this business model will enable us to deliver our products to our customers at the earliest time our customers require for their design cycle, resulting in shorter time-to-market and time-to-volume production. Furthermore, we believe we will render more cost-effective services by focusing our research and development expenditures on the specific requirements of our customers. We believe our partnership business model will help us not only survive a market downturn, but also achieve a better competitive position.

Continue to Focus on High Growth Applications and Customers and Actively Explore New Market Opportunities. We believe one measure of a successful foundry company is the quality of its customers. We focus our sales and marketing on customers who are established or emerging leaders in industries with high growth potential. Our customers include industry leaders such as Broadcom, MediaTek, Realtek, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm. We seek to maintain and expand our relationships with these companies. We strive to demonstrate to these customers the superiority and flexibility of our manufacturing, technology and service capabilities and to provide them with production and design assistance. We are also making efforts to further diversify our customer portfolio in order to maintain a balanced exposure to different applications and different customers. We believe these efforts strengthen our relationships with our customers and enhance our reputation in the semiconductor industry as a leading foundry service provider.

In addition to customer diversification, we have also been actively exploring new market opportunities in consumer electronics such as Internet of Things.

Maintain Our Leading Position in Mass-Producible Semiconductor Technology and Selectively Pursue Strategic Investments in New Technologies. We believe that maintaining and enhancing our leadership in mass-producible semiconductor manufacturing technology is critical to attract and retain customers. Our reputation for technological excellence has attracted both established and emerging leaders in semiconductor industries who work closely with us on technology development. In addition, we believe our superior processing expertise has enabled us to provide flexible production schedules to meet our customers’ particular needs. We plan to continue enhancing capital expenditures in research and development and building internal research and development expertise, to focus on process development and to establish alliances with leading and specialty semiconductor companies to accelerate access to next-generation and specialized technologies. Our continuous technology development efforts and capital investment have allowed us to acquire new customers and opportunities, which enabled us to increase our sales and revenue since 2015. We believe our progress in developing more advanced process technologies has benefited our customers in the fields of computers, communications, consumer electronics and others with special preferences in certain aspects of the products, such as the ultimate performance, density and power consumption.

Moreover, we expect to strengthen our leading position and increase our market share by licensing our technologies to several corporate partners. For example, in 2014, we licensed to MIFS, which is a pure-play foundry company, our advanced 40 nanometer technology under a technology transfer and license agreement. On October 1, 2019, MIFS, which was renamed as USJC, became one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries through the acquisition of equity interest. We will continue to explore licensing opportunities based on our comprehensive technology offerings to further drive our revenue. In addition, we also entered into an agreement with the

24


Xiamen Municipal People’s Government and Fujian Electronics & Information Group in 2014 in connection with the newly established USCXM located in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China, which is focusing on the manufacturing of 12-inch wafers with initial offering of 40 nanometer and 55 nanometer process technologies. In April 2017, we entered into a license agreement with USCXM to provide 28 nanometer process technologies aimed to further strengthen the wafer manufacturing capabilities of our subsidiary company.

We also recognize that every company has limited resources and that the foundry industry is ever-evolving. Accordingly, we believe we should invest in new research and development technology intelligently and in a cost-effective manner to achieve the ultimate output of the resulting technology. In doing so, we balance the rate of return of our research and development with the importance of developing a technology at the right time to enhance our competitive edge without unduly diluting our profitability. We intend to avoid investments in technologies that do not present a commercial potential for volume production. We believe that to develop the earliest and most advanced semiconductor technology without regard to its potential for near term volume production may prove costly to our operations and would not strengthen our competitive position. We perceive a benefit to defer investment in the premature equipment needed to claim the earliest advanced technology and instead to purchase a more advanced and less expensive version of equipment from vendors who design such equipment based on pre-production lessons learned from the earliest technology.

Maintain Scale and Capacity Capabilities to Meet Customer Requirements, with a Focus on 12-inch Wafer Facilities for Future Expansion. We believe that maintaining our foundry capacity with advanced technology and facilities is critical to the maintenance of our industry leadership. Our production capacity is currently among the largest of all semiconductor foundries in the world. We intend to increase our 12-inch wafer production capacity to meet the needs of our customers and to fully capitalize on the expected growth of our industry. We expect our future capacity expansion plans will focus on 12-inch wafer facilities in order to maintain our technology leadership. 12-inch wafers offer manufacturing advantages over 8-inch wafers due to, among other reasons, the greater number of chips on each wafer and the advantages only offered on newer 12-inch capable equipment. In addition, 12-inch wafer facilities present a more cost-effective solution in achieving an economic scale of production. We intend to carefully monitor current market conditions in order to optimize the timing of our capital spending. We also plan to continue to expand our capacity and capabilities to meet customer requirements in different markets and expand our global presence by making strategic investments in other companies. For example, in 2014, we invested in MIFS in Japan with Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited and in USCXM in China with the Xiamen Municipal People’s Government and Fujian Electronics & Information Group that focus on manufacturing semiconductors using 12-inch wafers. These investments enable us to achieve a greater economy of scale with respect to 300mm wafer operations for advanced node process technologies. We also licensed our advanced technologies to these invested companies in order to provide feasible technology solutions to fulfill their needs. On October 1, 2019, we acquired all the remaining equity interest in MIFS from Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited. As such, MIFS became one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries and was renamed as USJC.

B.

Business Overview

Manufacturing Facilities

To maintain a leading position in the foundry business, we have placed great emphasis on achieving and maintaining a high standard of manufacturing quality. As a result, we seek to design and implement manufacturing processes that produce consistent, high manufacturing yields to enable our customers to estimate, with reasonable certainty, how many wafers they need to order from us. In addition, we continuously seek to enhance our production capacity and process technology, two important factors that characterize a foundry’s manufacturing capability. Our large production capacity and advanced process technologies enable us to provide our customers with volume production and flexible and quick-to-market manufacturing services. All of our fabs operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Substantially all maintenance at each of the fabs is performed concurrently with production.

The following table sets forth operational data of each of our manufacturing facilities as of December 31, 2020.

 

 

 

Wavetek

 

 

Fab 8A

 

 

Fab 8C

 

 

Fab 8D

 

 

Fab 8E

 

 

Fab 8F

 

 

Fab 8S

 

 

Fab 8N

 

 

Fab 12A

 

 

Fab 12i

 

 

Fab 12X

 

 

Fab 12M

 

Commencement of

   volume production

 

1989

 

 

1995

 

 

1998

 

 

2000

 

 

1998

 

 

2000

 

 

2000

 

 

2003

 

 

2002

 

 

2004

 

 

2016

 

 

2005

 

Estimated full

   capacity (1)(2)

 

 

31,000

 

 

 

66,900

 

 

 

37,700

 

 

 

31,000

 

 

 

37,500

 

 

 

40,500

 

 

 

31,100

 

 

 

76,500

 

 

 

87,100

 

 

 

53,207

 

 

 

19,000

 

 

 

32,600

 

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

 

wafers

per

month

 

Wafer size

 

6-inch

 

 

8-inch

 

 

8-inch

 

 

8-inch

 

 

8-inch

 

 

8-inch

 

 

8-inch

 

 

8-inch

 

 

12-inch

 

 

12-inch

 

 

12-inch

 

 

12-inch

 

 

 

(150mm)

 

 

(200mm)

 

 

(200mm)

 

 

(200mm)

 

 

(200mm)

 

 

(200mm)

 

 

(200mm)

 

 

(200mm)

 

 

(300mm)

 

 

(300mm)

 

 

(300mm)

 

 

(300mm)

 

 

(1)

Measured in stated wafer size.

25


(2)

The capacity of a fab is determined based on the capacity ratings given by manufacturers of the equipment used in the fab, adjusted for, among other factors, actual output during uninterrupted trial runs, expected down time due to set up for production runs and maintenance and expected product mix.

Our fabs are located in the R.O.C., Singapore, PRC and Japan. The following table sets forth the size and primary use of our facilities and whether such facilities, including land and buildings, are owned or leased. The land in the Hsinchu and Tainan Science Parks is leased from the R.O.C. government. The land in the Pasir Ris is leased from statutory boards of the Singapore government. The land in the Suzhou Industrial Park and Xiang’an District is leased from the PRC government.

 

Location

 

Size

(Land/Building)

 

Primary Use

 

Land

(Owned or Leased)

 

Building

(Owned or Leased)

 

 

(in square meters)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fab 8A, 3, 5 Li-Hsin 2nd Rd.,

Hsinchu Science Park,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30078, R.O.C.

 

43,130 / 83,699

 

8-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in December 2033)

 

Owned

Fab 8C & Fab 8D, 6, 8 Li-Hsin 3rd Rd.,

Hsinchu Science Park,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30078, R.O.C.

 

33,784/100,609

 

8-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in December 2033)

 

Owned

Fab 8E, 17 Li-Hsin Rd.,

Hsinchu Science Park,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30078, R.O.C.

 

35,779 / 76,315

 

8-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in February 2036)

 

Owned

Fab 8F, 3 Li-Hsin 6th Rd.,

Hsinchu Science Park,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30078, R.O.C.

 

23,774 / 65,736

 

8-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in February 2038)

 

Owned

Fab 8S, 16 Creation 1st Rd.,

Hsinchu Science Park,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30077, R.O.C.

 

20,365 / 65,614

 

8-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in December 2023)

 

Owned

Fab 8N, 333, Xinghua St.,

Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou,

Jiangsu Province 215025, PRC

 

215,621 /100,908

 

8-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in December 2052)

 

Owned

Fab 12A, 18, 20 Nan-Ke 2nd Rd., &

57, Nan-ke 3rd Rd., Tainan Science Park, Sinshih

Tainan, Taiwan 74147, R.O.C.

 

243,250 / 633,904

 

12-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in November 2034)

 

Owned

Fab 12i, 3 Pasir Ris Drive 12

Singapore 519528

 

86,007 / 146,438

 

12-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in March 2031)

 

Owned

Fab 12X, 899 Wan Jia Chun Road, Xiang’an District, Xiamen, PRC

 

254,698 / 348,537

 

12-inch wafer

production

 

Leased (expires in January 2065)

 

Owned

Fab 12M, 2000, Mizono, Tado-cho,

Kuwana, Mie, 511-0118, Japan

 

307,293 / 151,753

 

12-inch wafer

production

 

Owned

 

Owned

United Tower, 3 Li-Hsin 2nd Rd.,

Hsinchu Science Park,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30078, R.O.C.

 

8,985 / 85,224

 

Administration

office

 

Leased (expires in December 2033)

 

Owned

Neihu Rd. office, 8F, 68. Sec. 1,

Neihu Rd., Taipei,

Taiwan 11493, R.O.C.

 

626 / 4,817

 

Administration office

 

Owned

 

Owned

Testing Building, 1, Chin-Shan, 7th St.,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30080, R.O.C.

 

10,762 /41,318

 

Leased to several companies

 

Owned

 

Owned

R&D Building, 18 Nan-Ke 2nd Rd.,

Tainan Science Park, Sinshih,

Tainan, Taiwan 74147, R.O.C.

 

42,000 / 47,396

 

Research and development

 

Leased (expires in December 2023)

 

Owned

26


 

 

Location

 

Size

(Land/Building)

 

Primary Use

 

Land

(Owned or Leased)

 

Building

(Owned or Leased)

 

 

(in square meters)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wavetek, 10, Chuangxin 1st Rd.,

Hsinchu Science Park,

Baoshan Township,

Hsinchu, Taiwan 30076, R.O.C.

 

27,898 / 34,609

 

6-inch wafer production

 

Leased (expires in December 2034)

 

Owned

 

Process Technology

Process technology is a set of specifications and parameters that we implement for manufacturing the critical dimensions of the patterned features of the circuitry of semiconductors. Our process technologies are currently among the most advanced in the foundry industry. These advanced technologies have enabled us to provide flexible production schedules to meet our customers’ particular needs.

We pioneered the production of numerous semiconductor products. Our continued enhancement of our process technologies has enabled us to manufacture semiconductor devices with smaller geometries. In 2013, we successfully developed and released into production 28nm Poly-SiON and High-k/metal gate technologies. In 2015, we provided a High-k/ metal gate with high performance compact, or HPC, solution and improved to a high performance compact plus, or HPC+, solution by the end of 2017 for speed-intensive and optimized power consumption products. We and Cadence Design Systems collaborate on certification of analog/mixed-signal flow for 28HPC+ process. Certification enables customers to leverage the integrated, comprehensive AMS solution to facilitate accelerated designs on our most advanced 28nm node. In 2018, we developed 22nm ULP (ultra-Low Power) and ULL (ultra-Low Leakage) technology to provide cost effective solutions and to obtain better chip performance for IoT applications. We also joined the IBM chip alliance, for advanced process development. With IBM’s know-how and support, we aim to continue to improve our internally developed 14nm FinFET technology, so as to offer a 14nm competitive low-power enhanced technology for mobile computing and communication products. In March 2017, we commenced the shipment of 14nm wafers to customers and have achieved production quality yields for the advanced process that is being utilized for consumer electronic applications. UMC’s 14nm FinFET technology features 55% higher speed and twice the gate density over 28nm process technology. The 14nm process also consumes approximately 50% less power than for 28nm. We also partnered with Avalanche for joint development and production of MRAM to replace embedded flash in 2018 for 22nm technologies.

Our 22nm technology readiness follows silicon validation on world’s smallest USB 2.0 test vehicle. The latest specialty process offering provides competitive performance and a seamless migration path from 28nm to 22nm. We are offering a 22uLP version that has compatible design rules and the same mask count at the foundry’s 28nm technology, and also a 22uLL version. UMC 22uLP and 22uLL form a super set to support a voltage domain from 1.0V to 0.6V, allowing customers to enjoy the benefits of both technologies on system-on-chip (SoC) designs. The 22nm platform is supported by our foundation IP and is ideal for a wide variety of semiconductor applications including consumer ICs for set top box, digital TV, surveillance, power or leakage sensitive IoT chips (with Bluetooth or WiFi) and wearable products that require longer battery life.

Furthermore, we have also successfully developed specialty technologies such as 55/40/28nm embedded memory used for MCU and automotive products, 55/40/28nm embedded high voltage device used for display drivers, 55nm BSI-CSI for image sensors and 110/55nm BCD for power management circuits. We also developed ReRAM for advanced node embedded solutions, and RF-SOI technologies of 110/90/55nm nodes covering both custom and platform for RF device applications. All of these specialty technologies can provide system on chip solutions.

27


The table below sets forth our actual process technology range, categorized by line widths, or the minimum physical dimensions of the transistor gate of integrated circuits in production by each fab in 2020, and the estimated annual full capacity of each fab, actual total annual output and capacity utilization rates in 2018, 2019 and 2020:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2020 Range of

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

 

 

Years of

 

 

Process

 

 

2018

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

 

Commencement

of Operation

 

 

Technologies (in

microns)

 

 

(in thousands of 8-inch wafer

equivalents, except percentages)

 

Wavetek

 

1989

 

 

3.5 to 0.45

 

 

 

223

 

 

 

208

 

 

 

209