Mon, Jan 17, 2011 - Page 12 News List

TSMC R&D outlay in industry top 10

Staff writer, with CNA

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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