Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) said yesterday it would allocate US$1.5 billion this year to boost its research and development (R&D) capabilities.
The company said it will draw the funds from this year’s capital expenditure, which it estimates will be between US$9.5 billion and US$10 billion.
TSMC’s Asia-Pacific business division director Tsai Chih-chun (蔡志群) said the company is also planning to increase its R&D staff this year from about 3,900 to 4,200.
This year’s R&D spending will focus on logic IC and specialty chip development, in a bid to strengthen the firm’s global competitiveness, Tsai said at a technology symposium held by the company.
Last month, TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) said the company would increase its capital expenditure from the planned US$9 billion to fund sophisticated technology development, given the popularity of mobile communications products.
Tsai said this year would be a good year for the global semiconductor sector amid optimism on global demand for mobile devices.
Global smartphone shipments are expected to total 1 billion units this year, surpassing shipments of feature phones, while tablet computer shipments worldwide are expected to reach 240 million units, he said, citing forecasts.
In China, demand for smartphones and tablet computers appears particularly strong, Tsai said.
Meanwhile, TSMC is planning to raise the monthly production capacity at its 12-inch wafer plant in the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) from about 50,000 units to 100,000 units by the end of this year, Tsai said.