Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s top contract chipmaker, yesterday said it planned to start mass-producing next-generation 450mm wafers using advanced 10-nanometer technology in 2018.
The plan was included in the latest technology roadmap unveiled by TSMC about one year after the chipmaker attributed its delay in making 450mm wafers, originally scheduled in 2015, to semiconductor equipment suppliers’ postponement in developing advanced equipment for manufacturing amid the industrial slump.
The 450mm wafers would help solve the problem of rising costs in making advanced chips, allowing TSMC to provide affordable 10 nanometer chips with FinFET transistors for customers, J.K. Wang (王建光), vice president of TSMC’s operation in charge of 300mm factories, told a media briefing arranged by semiconductor industry association SEMI.
Cost constraints rather than technological constraints for chipmakers to migrate to next-generation chips via shrinking chip geometry, he said.
Chipmakers can get 2.5 times more chips from a 450mm wafer than from a 300mm wafer.
The advanced 10-nanometer chips could first be used in mobile devices and other consumer electronics, like game consoles, that demand high-performance and low power consumption, Wang said.
TSMC planned to build a pilot production line to make 450mm wafers between 2016 and 2017, when semiconductor ASML Holding NV had its key equipment ready in 2015, Wang said.
The chipmaker would consider building major 450mm-wafer production lines in Greater Taichung, he said.
Early this year, TSMC joined the Global 450 Consortium in a move to facilitate the transition of 450mm wafer production from its current 300mm wafers in collaboration with the world’s major chip companies, Intel Corp, Samsung Electronics Co, IBM Corp and GlobalFoundries Inc, Wang said.
Each company sent 20 engineers to jointly develop the technology and overcome challenges, Wang said.
Taiwanese chipmakers are expected to spend 8 percent more on semiconductor equipment to U$9.2 billion this year from last year’s US$8.2 billion, primarily driven by contract chipmakers, TSMC in particular, SEMI analyst Clark Tseng (曾瑞榆) said.
That was a contrast to an annual decline of 2.6 percent in spending by global chip companies this year, SEMI said.
TSMC planned to spend US$8.5 billion on new equipment this year.
Next year, Tseng expects local chipmakers to budget more than US$9 billion in total on new semiconductor equipment, meaning little change from this year’s spending. Any improvement in the macroeconomy would allow an upward revision, he said.
Taiwan and South Korea are expected to be the two largest markets for semiconductor equipment this year, with purchases totaling US$9.26 billion and US$11.48 billion respectively, according to SEMI figures.
TSMC shares rose 0.12 percent to NT$84 yesterday, outperforming the TAIEX’s 0.01 percent gain, while rival United Microelectronics Co (聯電) was flat at NT$11.95.
STAYING AHEAD: Fitch said that TSMC remains technologically ahead of others, but Samsung is building a new chip fab, while China is investing in its domestic industry As escalating US-China tensions and COVID-19-related production disruptions force US technology supply chains to transform, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) US$12 billion chip fabrication plant in Arizona would be key to spurring greater US production of core semiconductor components, Fitch Ratings said. “We view the US-TSMC alliance as a first step in building a more autonomous US technology supply chain, given high barriers to entry, specifically related to the significant capital and design capability required for leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing,” Fitch said in a statement on Tuesday. “By working with TSMC, US chipmakers will not face the financial burden of incremental investment
DIVERSIFICATION: Although COVID-19 would push more companies to produce in emerging markets, DBS said that it was unlikely that firms would totally leave China Geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions are expected to accelerate the migration of manufacturing out of China, as concerns about the risk of production concentrated in one country increase, S&P Global Ratings said. Although its economic expansion might be weaker than previous levels due to the accelerated relocation of manufacturing, China’s economic growth would still be stronger than that of most other economies, the ratings agency said. “While absolute growth rates will moderate, we believe China’s economic performance will continue to be a key sovereign credit support,” S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Tan Kim Eng (陳錦榮) said in a statement on Thursday. “Its growth
Taiwan’s corporate landscape has changed significantly over the past 20 years, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) replacing Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) as the revenue leader, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電) has emerged as the most profitable firm, a survey of Taiwan’s 50 largest companies published on Tuesday last week showed. The Chinese-language CommonWealth Magazine survey ranked Taiwan’s 50 largest companies based on their revenue last year, and compared them with the results of a similar survey it conducted in 2000. Only 33 companies on the original list remained in this year’s rankings, the survey found, following two
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) yesterday announced that it would suspend guestroom operations and lay off related staffers from Monday, as regional border controls and travel restrictions are unlikely to be lifted anytime soon. The partial shutdown would not affect the five-star hotel’s restaurants, bars, spa, and conference and banquet facilities, which this month have almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels, it said. “Mandarin Oriental Taipei will suspend all guestroom services from June 1 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the hotel said after four months of maintaining normal operations proved unsustainable. The change necessitates downsizing and the hotel is handling