Thu, Jun 06, 2013 - Page 13 News List

TSMC banking on 28nm shipments

SILVER LININGS:Company chairman Morris Chang was also optimistic on growth in cloud-based mobile products, a key area that has helped TSMC expand in recent years

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, expects to ship 1.5 million 28-nanometer (nm) wafers by the end of this year, riding on strong demand for mobile devices, a company executive said yesterday.

TSMC has cornered more than 90 percent of the worldwide advanced 28nm-chip market. In April, the company said that revenue generated from its 28nm chips for this year would be triple that of last year, driven by strong demand for smartphones and tablets.

Speaking at a Computex summit forum, Been-Jon Woo (金平中), director of TSMC’s business development unit, said the company had created a “unique” business model, dubbed “Grand Alliance,” to grow along with its customers, and the success of this strategy is evidenced by its robust 28nm chip business.

TSMC’s 28nm chip customers include US mobile phone chip designer Qualcomm Inc and Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc (聯發科). The company’s equipment for such advanced chips is likely to continue to be fully utilized as was the case last year, the company said earlier.

“This year, TSMC is forecast to ship 1.5 million 12-inch wafers on advanced 28nm process technology,” Woo said.

“Twenty-eight-nanometer [chips] will contribute greatly to the company’s revenue,” she said, adding that “mobile [device demand] is the driver.”

TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) yesterday also voiced optimism for growth in cloud-based mobile products, as cloud technology has become one of the key areas of development for the mobile industry and has helped TSMC grow rapidly over recent years.

The company expects 28nm chips to make up at least 30 percent of its total revenue this year. Last quarter, TSMC made 24 percent of its NT$132.76 billion (US$4.44 billion) revenue from selling 28nm chips.

That gives the firm a significant edge, as local rival United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) said last month that it would not see a meaningful revenue contribution from 28nm chips before the end of the year.

Responding to questions on how to cope with growing competition from South Korean firms, Samsung Electronics Co in particular, Woo said TSMC is different from its competitors in that the company does not compete with its customers but concentrates on providing them with the most cost-effective products.

Separately, PC vendor Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) chief executive officer Jerry Shen (沈振來) yesterday said on the sidelines of the forum that the company plans to launch new tablets this fall, using Quaclomm’s latest processors for tablets, supporting 4G long-term evolution technology.

Shen also showcased the company’s new “Padfone Infinity,” equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 processor. The product is the third-generation of “phablet” devices developed by Asustek, which combine the function of a mobile phone with those of a tablet.

The forum was attended by a number of other technology heavyweights, including Steve Mollenkopf, president and chief operating officer of Qualcomm, and Ian Drew, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of business development at UK chip designer ARM Holdings PLC.

Additional reporting by CNA

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