Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has retained its No. 1 spot among listed firms in Taiwan in terms of spending on research and development (R&D), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.
During the first half of the year, the world’s largest wafer foundry earmarked NT$22.6 billion (US$753 million) for R&D, up 17.45 percent from the same period last year, as it aims to meet robust demand for high-end chips and wafers using advanced process technologies, the ministry said in a statement.
TSMC has led listed companies in R&D spending since 2008, when the ministry started to track companies’ efforts to upgrade their production technologies on a half-year basis, excluding financial holding, insurance and stock brokerage firms. The most recent survey was based on data compiled by Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp as of Aug. 15
Last year, Hsinchu-based TSMC spent NT$40.4 billion in R&D in a bid to maintain its technological leadership, an amount which accounted for 7.98 percent of the company’s consolidated revenue of NT$506.25 billion and represented an annual increase of 19.53 percent from NT$33.8 billion, the ministry’s tallies showed.
The ministry said that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), which assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc, was the runner-up with NT$20.3 billion in R&D spending, up 1.6 percent from a year ago.
MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the nation’s biggest handset chip designer, took third place with NT$12 billion, a rise of 17.02 percent year-on-year. It was followed by Innolux Corp (群創光電), Taiwan’s largest flat-panel maker, with NT$6.7 billion, and smartphone vendor HTC Corp (宏達電) at NT$6.6 billion, according to the statement.
Altogether, Taiwan’s top 300 listed companies reported NT$230.6 billion in R&D investment for the first six months of the year, a figure which was 5.7 percent higher than the NT$218.1 billion spent in the first half of last year and accounted for 2.76 percent of the firms’ combined revenues of NT$8.34 trillion over the same period, the survey showed.
The increased R&D expenditure of the top 300 firms was mainly driven by those in the information technology and communications industries, with companies in the semiconductor sector contributing the most with NT$78.1 billion spent, followed by the NT$51.4 billion spent by manufacturers of computer and peripheral products, the ministry said.
Despite the surge in R&D spending, the ministry warned about the concentration of such spending among the top 300 companies, which accounted for 92 percent of the total expenditure of all listed firms.
Moreover, Taiwan is still lagging far behind Japan and South Korea in terms of its R&D to GDP ratio, although the nation has seen the ratio rise above that of the US, the EU and China, the ministry said.
The most recent data available show that Taiwan had an R&D-to-GDP ratio of 3.02 in 2011, up from 2.39 percent in 2005, it added.