TSMC still leading in 28nm chips

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - Page 13

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) will continue to dominate the global 28-nanometer chip market this year, with sales forecast to triple to US$6.33 billion and account for 78 percent of the market, IC Insights Inc said yesterday.

Overall, global pure-play foundries are projected to make US$8.1 billion in revenue from 28nm chips this year, a threefold growth from last year’s US$2.7 billion, the market researcher said in a report.

TSMC sold US$2.1 billion worth of 28nm chips last year, its first year of commercial production, the report said.

TSMC, which counts Qualcomm Inc among its clients, said earlier this year that its 28nm chip capacity and revenue would triple this year from last year because of increasing adoption of the technology by major mobile-related applications such as smartphones.

IC Insights said all of the growth in pure-play foundry revenues this year is expected to come from 28nm chips, while revenue from chips made on less advanced technologies than 28nm would shrink 3 percent to US$28.2 billion this year from US$29 billion last year.

Aside from serving as a revenue growth driver, advanced technology chips are also expected to be the major source of profit, IC Insights said.

TSMC is by far the technology leader among the major pure-play foundries, as 51 percent of its revenue, or US$10.33 billion, is forecast to come from 45nm and more advanced chips this year, the report said.

However, privately held GlobalFoundries is catching up. IC Insights predicted that GlobalFoundries would make half of its revenue from selling 45nm and more advanced chips this year as the firm is rapidly moving into leading-edge technologies after utilizing a large portion of its capacity to produce microprocessors for Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) over the past years.

GlobalFoundries is expected to make US$2.53 billion in revenue from 45nm chips this year, while United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), another Taiwanese chipmaker, would sell US$0.89 billion in 45nm chips, making up about 22 percent of its total revenue this year, the researcher said.