Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday announced plans to start trial production of 5-nanometer (nm) chips in the second quarter of 2019, as the world’s largest contract chipmaker sought to reassure clients of its role as a trusted technology and capacity partner.
The remarks by TSMC came after rival Samsung Electronics Co on Wednesday announced plans to spin off its foundry business to avoid conflicts of interest with customers.
“Our mission is to create technology and to provide capacity in catering to your needs. We can work together,” TSMC co-CEO C.C. Wei (魏哲家) said at an annual technology symposium in Hsinchu.
“We do not believe that any company that makes competing products can really cooperate with you,” Wei said, in a veiled reference to Samsung’s dual roles as a proprietary chip manufacturer and foundry service provider.
TSMC has been investing heavily in next-generation technologies to expand its business and gain bigger shares of top customers’ orders.
Last year, the chipmaker spent a record-high US$2.21 billion on research and development (R&D), Wei said.
That represented an increase of about 7 percent from US$2.07 billion in 2015.
The annual R&D budget has consistently risen and this year’s figure “will be astonishing,” he said.
TSMC supplies chips to 450 customers, including Apple Inc, Nvidia Inc and MediaTek Inc (聯發科).
To maintain its technology leadership, Wei said the company would commence small volume production of 7-nanometer chips later this quarter, paving the way for mass production next year.
Trial production of 5-nanometer chips are to start in the second quarter of 2019 and mass production in 2020, Wei said, in line with the company’s aim of upgrading its node technology by one generation every two years.
On Wednesday, Samsung said that it would lead the industry with its technology roadmap of 8-nanometer, 7-nanometer, 6-nanometer, 5-nanometer and 4-nanometer processes. The South Korean firm expects its 8-nanometer chips to come out later this year and 7nm chips next year.
C.C. Tsai (蔡志群), a senior director at TSMC, told the symposium that global semiconductor revenue is expected to increase by 7 percent year-on-year to US$383 billion this year, backed by growing smartphone demand.
Overall smartphone shipments this year are forecast to increase 6 percent annually to 1.55 billion units, with China outpacing the world by posting growth of 10 percent to 852 million units, Tsai said.
Tsai cited some uncertainties that could affect shipments, including tight supply of memory chips, customer response to new iPhone features such as replacement of the home button with a touch module, and Chinese smartphone vendors redesigning form factors which could delay shipments.
This week’s undoing of the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin and its sister token, Luna, has ramifications for all of crypto. First, there is the immediate impact: The rapid collapse of a once-popular pair of cryptocurrencies sent a ripple effect across the industry, contributing to plummeting coin prices that wiped hundreds of billions of market value from the digital-asset market and stoked worries over the potential fragility of digital-asset ventures. Then there are the knock-on effects. In addition to delivering punishing losses to individual users and investment firms, the spectacular failure of a market darling like Terra threatens to have a cooling effect
material SHORTAGE: Even as workers are about to return, Quanta lacks operating supplies, while Pegatron reported its lowest revenues in 11 quarters, the companies said Taiwan’s major Apple Inc supplier cut its outlook for the second quarter, joining a growing list of manufacturers warning about the fallout from lockdowns aimed at containing China’s worst COVID-19 outbreak in two years. Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), which assembles MacBooks, expects a 20 percent quarterly fall in notebook shipments and a squeeze on margins this quarter due to the lockdown, a company representative said on Friday during an earnings call. The impact from supply chain disruptions could last until the end of the year, she said. The company’s Shanghai factory has been operating under tight restrictions since the middle of last month,
The US and the EU were yesterday to announce a joint effort aimed at identifying semiconductor supply disruptions as well as countering Russian disinformation, officials said. Top US officials are visiting the French scientific hub of Saclay for a meetup of the Trade and Technology Council, created last year as China increasingly exerts its technology clout. US officials acknowledged that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has broadened the council’s scope, but said the Western bloc still has its eye on competition from China. The two sides will announce an “early warning system” for semiconductors supply disruptions, hoping to avoid excessive competition between Western powers
Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), which distributes Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Taiwan, yesterday introduced Toyota Motor Corp’s first all-electric sports utility vehicle (SUV), the bZ4X, joining rivals in vying for a share of the nation’s fast-growing electric vehicle market. Starting today, the bZ4X, with a price tag of NT$1.599 million (US$53,780), would be available for online purchase only and customers need to download a special app to place orders, Hotai said. Hotai has received 300 of the electric SUVs, it said, adding that it is not enough to meet robust market demand. A total of 229 electric vehicles were sold in the