ACM Research was planning to build a fab equipment factory in South Korea, TheElec has learned.
The company recently opened a regional subsidiary called Korea ACM, which it wholly owns.
ACM Research is a fab equipment maker that was founded in Silicon Valley in 1998 and listed on Nasdaq in 2017.
The company manufactures wet wafer cleaners, plating machines, furnaces and packaging equipment.
Its customers include South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix and Chinese chipmakers.
ACM Research had consistently expanded in Asia in the past. It formed a subsidiary in Shanghai in 2006; in 2017, it formed ACM Research Korea to better service its customer SK Hynix.
The Shanghai office was currently focused on software for fab equipment while ACM Research Korea was focusing on hardware design and manufacture.
Korea ACM was currently scouting for land at Yongin, South Korea to build a factory there, sources said.
ACM Research had mostly earned its revenue from the Chinese market, but it was now in talks with North American and South Korean chipmakers to expand in these countries as well.
It is pushing its new SAPS cleaning technology, which the company says is less susceptible to damaging wafers compared to its previous technology.
It remains to be seen however whether South Korean customers of the fab equipment maker will accept its machines, which are mostly made in Shanghai, due to the increasing efforts by the US to exclude Chinese-made goods from entering its supply chain.
ACM Research likely formed its recent South Korean subsidiary to avoid this issue. Customers of the company had previously requested that it form local subsidiaries where they are based to avoid being embroiled in the US-China trade controversy.