Geneva-based semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics announced it began construction today on its future chip packaging and test facility in Longgang, Guangdong Province, China. When completed, the site will be among ST's largest packaging and test facilities in the world, with up to 40,000 square meters of manufacturing space and a capacity of approximately 5000 employees. The first 20,000-sq-m building is expected to be completed by the end of September 2008, with manufacturing equipment installation planned for the fourth quarter of 2008. In its first year, the Longgang plant, which will primarily assemble and test power conversion devices, is expected to produce more than 800 million units. At full capacity, the plant could produce more than 10 billion units per year, or about 20 percent of ST's current total back-end production. "The new back-end facility will significantly reinforce ST's world-class manufacturing machine and enhance our competitiveness by expanding our presence in China's exciting market," said Alain Dutheil, COO and vice chairman of STMicroelectronics' corporate executive committee. China is the world's fastest growing semiconductor market, expected to make up one-fifth of the global semiconductor market within the next five years, ST said.