Infineon Technologies remains committed to outsourcing, estimating orders to contract chipmakers such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) will account for about 20 per cent of memory chip production next year. Orders to SMIC and Taiwan's Winbond Electronics Corp accounted for about 10 per cent of the German company's memory-chip output, said Harald Eggers, the former chief executive of Infineon's memory-products division. This would rise after SMIC's 12-inch wafer facility in Beijing comes online at the end of the year. Mr Eggers made the comments yesterday to counter speculation that Infineon was shifting away from contractors to rely more on internal capacity. On April 23, the company announced a US$1 billion plan to expand into 12-inch wafer production at its facilities in Virginia. In addition, chief executive Ulrich Schumacher - a proponent of outsourcing - suddenly resigned in March. Mr Eggers stepped down from his post on June 1, handing the reins over to Thomas Seifert, a former head of the wire-line communications group. This also prompted speculation a strategy shift was imminent. However, Mr Eggers said no change was forthcoming. 'Our commitment to our partnerships in Asia... will stay and grow as planned,' said Mr Eggers, who will continue working for the company until his retirement at the end of the year. 'The strategy of the memory-products group will not be affected by these personnel changes.' Infineon had a 'three-column' approach to memory chip production, he said. The first is represented by in-house production at its United States and Dresden, Germany, facilities. Ideally, this would account for about 50 per cent of memory-chip output. The second column is a joint-venture production with Taiwan's Nanya Technology, accounting for 25 per cent of output. The last column is outsourcing, also accounting for 25 per cent. 'But these are very rough numbers,' Mr Eggers said, adding the figures would fluctuate over time. He confirmed Infineon was considering spinning off its memory-chip group - talk of which had led to speculation the company would quit outsourcing. Mr Eggers said whether to separate memory chips from its vehicle and wire-line products had been a 'question internally', but 'there is no decision on this'. He said the firm could continue to offer a range of products like rival Samsung, or become a pure memory-chip company like Micron Technology or Elpida Memory. However, he denied that Infineon planned to dispose of the unit. 'There's been no plan at any time to sell this business.' Memory chips account for 40 per cent of the company's sales. Mr Eggers also sought to dispel reports from Taiwan that Infineon was dissatisfied with SMIC. 'The co-operation between SMIC and Infineon is outstanding,' he said. 'I'm 100 per cent convinced this co-operation will be one of the most important ones we have engaged in.'