Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chip maker, ranked among the top 10 spenders in research and development (R&D) in the global integrated circuit sector last year, according to a research report.
The report released by semiconductor market researcher IC Insights on Thursday showed TSMC raised its R&D expenses last year by 44 percent from 2009 to US$945 million (NT$27.44 billion), making it the 10th largest R&D spender among the global computer chip companies.
The company’s ranking in R&D spending surged compared to the previous year.
In 2009, TSMC spent US$656 million in R&D, making it the 19th largest spender in the industry, IC Insights said.
Last year, its R&D spending accounted for 7 percent of its total sales, and the firm became the first foundry operator to be included in the top 10 R&D spender rankings in the global IC business, the report said.
IC Insights called TSMC’s rise in the ranking “significant” as foundries usually spend a small amount of their sales on R&D, which range between 5 percent and 10 percent of revenue, compared with a range of 15 percent to 20 percent for integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and fabless IC designers.
The IC market researcher said TSMC was expected to spend more than US$1.1 billion in R&D this year, up 20 percent from last year.
US giant Intel kept its largest R&D spender title last year by spending US$6.66 billion, an 18 percent rise from 2009, with the figure accounting for 17 percent of its total sales, IC Insights said.
Samsung Electronics of South Korea, meanwhile, rose a notch to rank as the second-largest spender last year, spending US$2.62 billion in R&D, which was 19 percent higher than 2009 and represented 8 percent of its revenue.
STMicroelectronics, a Geneva-headquartered IC firm, came in third in rankings for last year, down from second place in 2009, after spending US$2.33 billion in R&D, which fell 2 percent compared to the previous year, and made up 23 percent of its sales.
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