Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 10 News List

TSMC predicts 30% growth for industry

DIGITALLY DRIVEN Morris Chang said digital consumer electronics are expected to fuel the industry this year and next, outstripping computers and mobile phones


The global semiconductor industry is expected to see a 30 percent increase in sales this year and the strong growth momentum will carry into next year, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) said yesterday.

"The 30 percent growth is not an unreasonable expectation for this year. In addition, next year will be pretty strong also," Chang said.

Digital consumer electronics including set-top boxes and DVD players, will outstrip personal computers and mobile phones as the industry's major driving force, Chang said at a keynote speech for the technology forum organized by chipmaker VIA Technologies Inc (威盛電子).

TSMC, the world's biggest contracted chipmaker posted higher revenues of NT$57.51 billion for the first quarter with 17 percent from consumer electronics segment. The communications segment contributed a big chunk of 45 percent to the sales.

Expressing a similar upbeat perspective, Richard Gordon, an analyst with Gartner Dataquest Inc, projected that the semiconductor sector will jump 25 percent in revenue to US$221 billion this year from US$177 billion last year.

Looking ahead further, Chang said the semiconductor industry will have a healthy growth rate of 10 to 12 percent annually during the decade to 2010, a slightly brighter outlook than the 10 percent rise he predicted in late April.

To catch up with growing demand and to broaden the chipmaker's technologies, TSMC will expand capacities in advanced technol-ogies, 0.13-micron or below processing technologies and more matured technologies, he added.

Chang expects TSMC's wafer fabs to churn out large volume chips using 65-nanometer processing technologies in late 2006 or early 2007 and to take another two years to see production ramp up using 45-nanometer processing technologies.

To stay ahead of its competi-tors, TSMC plans to expand capacity and its service portfolio in addition to broadening its technology offerings, Chang said.

He said the chip foundry plans to spend US$2 billion on new equipment this year.

As part of the chip foundry's capacity expansion, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker is close to deciding on a new batch of advanced 12-inch plants in the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) in Tai-chung, TSMC spokesman Tzeng Jinnhaw (曾晉皓) told reporters.

"We hope to finalize the investment plan soon. TSMC will continue to invest in Taiwan," Tzeng said.

The company is likely to pin down the more than NT$300 billion investment plan later this month to build four 12-inch plants and one research and development center in the future, said an official of the Central Taiwan Science Park Administration, who preferred not to be named.

TSMC requested the administration to reserve about 40 hectare of land for the project, the official added.

Currently, TSMC has two advanced 12-inch wafer fabs, in Hsinchu and Tainan.

The Tainan fab is scheduled to start mass production in the final quarter of this year.

In addition, the company is moving less advanced 8-inch facilities to its first Chinese plant in Shanghai.

The plant, in which TSMC plans to pump US$898 million, is scheduled to start small volume production in the fourth quarter of the year.

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