TSMC becomes largest semiconductor maker
TAIPEI, CNATAIEPI -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has become the world's largest integrated circuit (IC) chip supplier in terms of the final market value of its sales, the company's acting spokeswoman said Thursday.
October 4, 2013, 12:17 am TWN
Counting the final market value, TSMC's IC chip sales reached an estimated US$54.6 billion last year, TSMC acting spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun said at a media event at the company's flagship production complex in the Southern Taiwan Science Park.
The sales figure surpassed those of IDM (integrated device manufacturer) giants such as U.S.-based Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, Sun said.
Founded in 1987, TSMC has consistently scored a 40-percent increase in compound annual growth rate, Sun said, adding that the company's consolidated revenues amounted to US$17.1 billion last year.
As a pure-play foundry, Sun said, TSMC has created a contract chip manufacturing service model to speed up technological innovation in the semiconductor industry.
Authoritative market research data show that the average compound annual growth rate of the global semiconductor production was only 5 percent between 1999 and 2012, Sun said.
In contrast, the production value of the IC design sector posted a 16-percent compound annual growth rate during the same period and TSMC's compound growth rate reached 17 percent, she said.
All these figures indicate that TSMC and its fabless clients have created a win-win scenario, Sun said.
Only Four Companies Edge into 20nm Game
With IC chip manufacturing technology becoming ever more complex and costly, the number of companies investing in the research and development of advanced technologies has been declining steadily, Sun said, adding that only four companies are set to produce wafers or chips on the 20nm process.
Besides taking the lead in the development of 20nm technology, Sun said, TSMC also has a broader range of IC technologies than other wafer foundries.
Moreover, TSMC never competes with its customers, she added.
According to Sun, TSMC will begin 20 nm production in the first quarter of next year and the new operation will contribute to the company's revenues from the second quarter.
Sun further said the 20nm technology would not be short-lived and its production volume in the first two years would not be lower than that of the 28nm technology.
Moreover, the 16nm finFET process technology will be an extension of the 20nm technology, and the production facilities needed for both of them are 95 percent the same, she said.
“Therefore, there will be no big problems transitioning from 20nm to 16nm technology,” Sun said, adding that TSMC will outpace its rivals in 16nm technology development.
TSMC opened its Fab 14 to the press for the first time Thursday, demonstrating its technological strength and competitive edge.
Wang Ying-lang, head of the TSMC's Fab 14, said the company would invest an additional NT$500 billion (US$17.02 billion) to expand its production capacity and create 7,000 new jobs.
TSMC has invested NT$4,500 billion in Fab 14, which is about 42 percent of its overall revenues for 2012, Wang said.
Fab 14 is spread over an area of 116 hectares. The complex's Phases 1-4, the size of 14 soccer stadiums, have been churning out products on the 0.13 micron to 40nm technologies, Wang said.
The complex's Phase 5 represents TSMC's capability to develop leading-edge technology, build advanced capacity, and satisfy customer demand, he said.
“It also lays the foundation for TSMC's next wave of growth,” Wang said, referring to the plan for the facility to produce wafers on the 20nm and 16nm processes.