Epistar to Spin-Off VCSEL Business; Spin-Off to Also Focus on GaN-on-Si Chips

Epistar has reported that its board has decided to spin off the company’s VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) epitaxial wafer foundry business. The company plans to transfer the VCSEL epitaxial wafer foundry business to a newly-established wholly-owned subsidiary, tentatively named Epistar Semiconductor. The company has scheduled the completion of the transfer by October 1, 2018, according to a DigiTimes article. Epistar Semiconductor plans to focus on outsourced fabrication of VCSEL epitaxial wafers and GaN-on-Si chips.

The company intends to utilize the business separation to provide dedicated foundry services and increase efficiency in resource utilization. According to the article, Epistar vice president Patrick Fan will become new president of the parent company, and Epistar president Jou Ming-jiunn will step down to become president of Epistar Semiconductor.

With the original equipment from the parent company, Epistar Semiconductor will reportedly have initial monthly production capacity of 2,000 4-inch VCSEL epitaxial wafers. These VCSEL wafers are used to make VCSEL chips for optical data communication.

Epistar Semiconductor also plans to establish monthly production capacity of 2,000 6-inch VCSEL epitaxial wafers for production of chips for 3D sensing components, and the company will gradually expand the monthly production capacity to 5,000-6,000 wafers.

Epistar Semiconductor to Also Produce VCSEL Chips

In addition to wafer foundry services, Epistar Semiconductor can produce VCSEL chips. Epistar Semiconductor reported that it will begin shipping 4-inch VCSEL epitaxial wafers as soon as possible and start shipping the 6-inch VCSEL wafers in small volume beginning in the fourth-quarter 2018.

Epistar originally intended to begin shipping mini LED chips for smartphone backlighting during the second-half 2018. However, company chairman Lee Biing-jye said such shipments will be delayed until 2019. Lee noted that the delay is because yield rates for mini LED chips are still not high enough, and the company is still performing trial production of mini LED chips.