Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on August 14, 2008
Another example today of just how hard it is to make it in the semiconductor industry. Chartered Semiconductor, the Singapore-based chip foundry that’s long been considered one of the top names in the Asian semiconductor business, got downgraded to junk status by Fitch. (A foundry, as my editors always want me to remind readers, is a chipmaker that produces semiconductors not under its own brand name but for customers that outsource their production.) Chartered is backed by the Singapore government, one of the most tech-savvy anywhere, but for years has languished in the shadow of industry heavyweight TSMC. Businesspeople and politicians in China, Southeast Asia and India have dreamed of building expensive chip fabs to take on the likes of TSMC and Samsung Electronics (which is the world leader in memory chips). But if even a Singapore-backed company has a hard time in chipmaking, imagine how much harder it is for a newcomer to make much of an impact.