Thu, May 18, 2006 - Page 11 News List

TSMC starts mass production of 65-nanometer chips

BLOOMBERG

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufac-turing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world's largest maker of customized chips, started mass production of its most advanced products for customers including a Motorola Inc supplier, at least two months before schedule.

"Taiwan Semiconductor recently started mass production of 65-nanometer chips, for customers such as Altera, Broadcom and Freescale," Tzeng Jinn-haw (曾晉皓), the company's spokesman, said by telephone yesterday.

The move suggests that TSMC, which makes chips used in Xbox 360 game consoles and Razr phones, is widening its lead over its closest competitor, helping it benefit the most from expected record sales of consumer electronics this year.

Rival United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) in February said it planned to start mass production of 65-nanometer chips next year.

"It provides unprecedented opportunities for our customers to further advance their leadership positions in their marketplaces," TSMC chief executive officer Rick Tsai (蔡力行) said in a statement released yesterday.

Tsai said on April 27 that TSMC would begin mass producing some chips using 65-nanometer technology in the second half of this year.

The technology helps shrink chip sizes, increasing output and reducing costs. A nanometer, a billionth of a meter, measures the distance between transistors in a chip.

Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor Inc is a supplier of the main chip for Motorola's Razr mobile phone. California-based Altera Corp is the world's second-largest maker of programmable semiconductors. California-based Broadcom Corp makes computer chips for consumer devices.

TSMC on April 6 said Qualcomm Inc, the world's second-largest supplier of semiconductors for cellphones, was testing its 65-nanometer chips.

Worldwide sales of consumer electronics may gain 8 percent to a record US$135.4 billion this year, according to the US-based Consumer Electronics Association.

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