TSMC to begin 20nm process production next year

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Oct 04, 2013 - Page 13

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) will begin 20 nanometer process production in the first quarter of next year and the new operation will contribute to its revenues from the second quarter, spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun (孫又文) said yesterday.

Sun said 20nm technology will not be short-lived and its production volume in the first two years will not be lower than that of 28nm technology.

Moreover, 16nm FinFET (fin field-effect-transistor) process technology will be an extension of 20nm technology, and the production facilities needed for both are 95 percent identical, she said.

“Therefore, there will be no big problems transitioning from 20nm to 16nm technology,” Sun said during a press conference at the company’s flagship production complex in the Southern Taiwan Science Park.

She said TSMC will outpace its rivals in 16nm technology development. Only four companies are set to produce wafers or chips on the 20nm process, she said, adding that TSMC has a broader range of IC technologies than other wafer foundries and it never competes with its customers.

TSMC opened its Fab 14 to the media for the first time yesterday.

Fab 14 head Wang Ying-lang (王英郎) said TSMC will invest an additional NT$500 billion (US$17.02 billion) to expand its production capacity and create 7,000 new jobs.

TSMC has invested NT$450 billion in Fab 14, about 42 percent of its total revenues last year, Wang said.

Fab 14 is spread over 116 hectares. The complex’s Phases 1 to 4, the size of 14 soccer fields, have been churning out products on the 0.13 micron to 40nm technologies, Wang said.

The complex’s Phase 5 represents TSMC’s ability to develop leading-edge technology, build advanced capacity and satisfy customer demand, he said.

“It also lays the foundation for TSMC’s next wave of growth,” Wang said, referring to the plan for the facility to produce wafers on the 20nm and 16nm processes.

TSMC has become the world’s largest integrated circuit (IC) chip supplier in terms of the final market value of its sales, Sun said.

Counting the final market value, TSMC’s IC chip sales reached an estimated US$54.6 billion last year, surpassing those of IDM (integrated device manufacturer) giants such as US-based Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co of South Korea, she said.