Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2008

System on a Chip 2008: Ardentec Corporation

by Willy C. Shih, Chen-Fu Chien, Chintay Shih and Ting-Chen Chen

Abstract

Ardentec Corporation is a specialist in "wafer probing," a highly specialized niche sandwiched between the "front-end" and the "back-end" of semiconductor manufacturing. Because the semiconductor industry uses modular processes and has standard containers for the interchange of work-in-progress, it has evolved to a highly horizontal structure where specialists like Ardentec can carve out unique market opportunities that are less attractive to integrated manufacturers. The company has grown rapidly, but as it starts to occupy a significant percentage of the total available market, its founders are faced with the challenge of how to maintain growth. Do they vertically integrate more into the back-end, or should they try to do acquisitions in adjacent markets? The case is intended to be used in conjunction with the Technical Note, "Horizontal Specialization and Modularity in the Semiconductor Industry" (608-001).

Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Industry Structures; Horizontal Integration; Vertical Integration; Manufacturing Industry; Semiconductor Industry;

Citation:

Shih, Willy C., Chen-Fu Chien, Chintay Shih, and Ting-Chen Chen. "System on a Chip 2008: Ardentec Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 609-026, August 2008.