Winbond Electronics Corporation and Sharp Corporation Announce New Joint Development Agreement for Developing Advanced Contactless Technology

(Taipei News)Winbond Electronics Corporation and Sharp Corporation today announced the signing of a new technology and product development agreement. The agreement is related to a Joint Development Program (JDP) for developing 0.18um and 0.13um Advanced Contactless Technology (ACT1) flash memory technology.

ACT1 is a technology that could reduce flash memory cell size to about half that of a typical NOR flash cell. This kind of technology could literally double size of the memory density, thereby providing a significant cost performance advantage in numerous consumer applications, such as cellular phones, PDAs, etc. 

According to the agreement, the first 0.13um ACT1 product supplied to market will be a 128 M or 256 M NOR flash. Production is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2004. Based on the ACT1 technology, both companies will be able to design their own products and sell to third parties.The primary development site is Winbond's facilities at Science-Based Industrial Park in Hsinchu, Taiwan. 

Winbond will also provide foundry service to Sharp for mass production of the ACT1 products to be developed. The two companies will conclude the relevant details in a later discussion and agreement. 

"Sharp Corporation is one of the world leaders in flash memory, and Winbond is very pleased to engage in a strategic alliance of this magnitude," said Arthur Chiao, Chairman of Winbond Electronics Corporation."This agreement is complementary to Winbond's own technology development of 0.18um, 32 Mbit NOR flash which we have scheduled for production beginning in the fourth quarter of 2002. Together with low power DRAM and pseudo SRAM products to be produced by Winbond, this technology will complete our memory solutions for mobile applications."

"We are also very excited about this strategic alliance. We are expecting the development of the next-generation flash memory technology and products will be further accelerated by this joint development efforts of the both companies." said Mr. Terumasa Yoneda, Corporate Senior Executive Director, Integrated Circuits Business, Sharp Corporation.

Rapidly changing market dynamics have created a business environment wherein both companies can leverage each other's strengths via a mutually beneficial agreement. Based on computer, information and communication market indicators, which all drive emerging multimedia applications, demand of memory is expected to increase dramatically in the future. The new technology agreement will allow both parties to increase their competitiveness in the future, and both companies are looking forward to additional cooperation on future generation of NVM products. 

About Winbond Electronics Corporation

Winbond Electronics Corporation was founded in 1987 and is based in Hsinchu Science-Based Park, Taiwan. It has since become the largest branded IC company in Taiwan, offering a broad range of PC and peripheral-related ICs, consumer electronics ICs, multimedia ICs, and memory ICs. Winbond is a market leader in the PC I/O controller, memory, speech synthesizer and MPEG decoder markets. With four wafer fabs currently in operation, the Company utilizes process technologies ranging from 1.0 micron down to 0.13 micron. Winbond has around 4,500 employees worldwide with design centers located in Hsinchu, Taiwan; Shanghai, China; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas.

About Sharp Corporation

Sharp Corporation is a worldwide developer of innovative products and core technologies that play a key role in shaping the future of electronics. As a leader in liquid crystal displays (LCDs), optoelectronics, and semiconductors including Flash Memories, LCD drivers, CCD/CMOS Imagers, Sharp offers one of the broadest and most advanced lines of consumer electronics, information products and electronic components, while also creating new network businesses. Sharp currently employs about 58,400 people in the world and recorded consolidated annual sales of over 2,012.8 billion yen for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001. 

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