LG Group’s fabless chipmaking unit Silicon Works will be commercializing the ARM Cortex-M3 based microcontroller unit (MCU) it developed in 2019 in a move marking its venture into the digital semiconductor markets, according to industry sources on Mar. 19.
The chips will be produced by Taiwan’s TSMC, to be sold to LG Electronics’ Home Appliance unit. So far, the division had used MCUs from Japanese companies Toshiba and Panasonic to be used for products such as refrigerators, washing machines and air purifiers.
Silicon Works – the country’s largest fabless facility – is currently also developing the more sophisticated M4, which can also be used as a key component of all appliances that use motors.
“Silicon Works is indicating it will be targeting appliances for more revenues via its affiliate LG Electronics,” said one industry watcher. “Later on, the firm will likely try to diversify its portfolio.”
Silicon Works’ revenues are mainly driven by displays, with DDIs for LCDs or OLED panels taking up 80% of its total volume. LG Display is one of its main clients, but the clientele is being increasingly diversified to include Chinese companies.
Works joined the LG family in 2014 when the conglomerate bought the controlling share. Afterwards, LG gathered together its chip designing facilities under LG Electronics and LG Display under the umbrella of Silicon Works.
In 2019, Silicon Works posted revenues of KRW 867.1 billion after growing 9.5% on-year. Its operating profit, however, declined 15.3% to KRW 47.2billion.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.