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TSMC is Taiwan's biggest R&D spender: gov't data

TAIPEI -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電), the world's largest contract chip maker, ranked as the biggest spender in research and development in 2013 among the 1,024 local manufacturers listed on the main board and the over-the-counter market in 2013, government statistics showed Tuesday.

Citing the statistics, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said TSMC spent NT$48.1 billion (US$1.59 billion) on R&D in 2013, up 19.1 percent from the previous year. It was the fourth consecutive year that TSMC posted a double digit increase in R&D spending, the ministry said.

Market analysts said the increase in TSMC's R&D spending reflected solid global demand for mobile devices and chips made on the chip manufacturer's high-end technology process.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海精密), the world's largest contract electronics maker which assembles iPhone and iPad for Apple Inc., was the second biggest spender in 2013, increasing its research and development spending by an annual 2.1 percent to NT$46.6 billion.

Integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc. (聯發科) was third, with R&D spending of NT$26.5 billion, up 18.2 percent from the previous year.

Electronics Sector Represents 46.8% of R&D Expense

According to the statistics, the local electronic component segment spent NT$231.2 billion in R&D, accounting for 46.8 percent of the total NT$494.0 billion spent by the 1,024 manufacturers last year.

The computer and optoelectronics segment took up NT$175.8 billion, 35.6 percent of the total R&D spending in the manufacturing sector, the data showed.

The fixed asset investments of the 1,024 manufacturers fell by an annual 5.3 percent in 2013 to NT$1.17 trillion but the decline was less than the 14.5 percent year-on-year drop in 2012, the statistics indicated.

The electronics component segment invested NT$605.9 billion in fixed assets last year, down 1.7 percent from the previous year. The segment accounted for 52 percent of the total fixed asset investments.

TSMC also ranked as the biggest investor in fixed assets last year, pouring in NT$287.6 billion, ahead of China Steel Corp. (中國鋼鐵) with NT$60.7 billion and Hon Hai with NT$44.4 billion.

In 2013, the total net profit of the 1,024 manufacturers rose 69 percent from a year earlier to NT$966 billion, while the net profit margin stood at 4.3 percent, up by an annual 1.8 percentage points, the economics ministry said.

The net profit margin of the electronics component segment rose by an annual 5.4 percentage points to 7.7 percent in 2013 as the profitability of semiconductor suppliers improved, the ministry said.

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