Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, ranked as the global semiconductor industry’s sixth-biggest spender in research and development (R&D) last year, a report released yesterday showed.
Market information advisory firm IC Insights said that TSMC’s R&D expenditure last year totaled US$1.62 billion, up more than 18 percent from 2012, when the Taiwanese chipmaker ranked ninth in the IC sector.
In 2010, TSMC raised its R&D spending by about 44 percent from a year earlier, vaulting the company to the position of 10th-largest IC investor in the world, up eight notches from the previous year, on the back of rising demand from fabless IC designers, IC Insights said.
Last year, R&D accounted for 8 percent of the company’s total sales, the same ratio as the previous year, IC Insights said.
TSMC has allocated US$9.5 billion to US$10 billion for capital expenditure this year — little changed from last year — to maintain its technological edge.
IC Insights said Intel Corp, a US-based integrated device manufacturer, continued to lead the semiconductor business, investing a record US$10.61 billion last year, up 5 percent from a year earlier.
Intel’s R&D spending accounted for 22 percent of its sales last year, up 1 percentage point from 2012.
US-based smartphone chip supplier Qualcomm Inc replaced South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co as the second-largest R&D spender with US$3.4 billion last year, an increase of 28 percent from a year ago.
Samsung’s R&D expenditure rose 2 percent last year from a year earlier to US$2.82 billion, making it the world’s third largest.
In third place was US-based wireless communications chipmaker Broadcom Inc, whose R&D expenses rose 7 percent from 2012 to US$2.49 billion.
It was followed by STMicroelectronics Inc of Switzerland, whose R&D spending fell 25 percent year-on-year to US$1.82 billion.