Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest maker of custom chips, said it would increase spending on research and development by 20 percent this year to reduce the size of chips and cut costs.
The target is spending as measured in US dollars, Sun Yuan-cheng (孫元成), a vice president in charge of research and development (R&D) for the Taiwanese company, said today at a briefing in Yokohama, Japan. TSMC raised R&D expenses 24 percent in local-currency terms to NT$19.7 billion (US$599 million) last year from NT$15.9 billion in 2007.
TSMC, whose clients include Intel Corp and Nvidia Corp, plans to invest in technology that packs more circuits per wafer to revive a slump in demand as the global recession prompts customers to delay orders. The company is a benchmark for the technology industry because it makes chips for everything from phones to TVs.
“Despite this economic downturn, we are making a significant increase in research-and-development spending,” Sun said.
TSMC fell 1.1 percent to NT$54.4 today in Taipei trading, bringing this year’s increase to 23 percent. Taiwan’s benchmark TAIEX has gained 45 percent this year. The increased R&D investment will help TSMC produce new 22-nanometer chips next year, scheduled for mass production in 2011, Sun said. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter and measures the width of the transistors packed in a semiconductor.