TSMC to make advanced chips in China next year

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 12

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said it would produce its first 16-nanometer chips next year at a new Chinese fab as planned, beating its peers in supplying such advanced chips to one of the world’s biggest semiconductor markets.

The facility in Nanjing, China, is scheduled to begin mass production of advanced 16-nanometer chips in the second half of next year.

TSMC has earmarked a US$3 billion budget for the 12-inch fab, along with a new design service center.

At a ground-breaking ceremony for the new facilities on July 7 last year, TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) said the plant, dubbed Fab 16, would be the first factory in China capable of producing 16-nanometer chips when construction is completed.

“This prediction is still valid,” Chang said in a speech in Nanjing yesterday, having returned after 14 months to host a ceremony marking the installation of equipment at the facility.

It provides further proof that TSMC is a semiconductor leader in terms of technology, capacity and client services, he added.

TSMC’s capitalization has continued to rise, jumping to a record-breaking US$180 billion, up more than 30 percent from US$136 billion on July 7 last year, Chang said.

“TSMC Nanjing will greatly help elevate China’s foundry capabilities,” Chang said. “With our extensive ecosystem in [chip] design, we will help boost Chinese semiconductor designers’ growth as well.”

In the second quarter of this year, China accounted for 11 percent of the firm’s total revenue of NT$213.86 billion (US$7.12 billion), surpassing Japan’s 8 percent and Europe’s 7 percent, a TSMC financial report showed.

The chipmaker has a broad customer base that includes China’s Hisilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體), which is owned by Huawei Technologies Co (華為), and Spreadtrum Communications Co (展訊通信), as well as mobile phone chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科), which focuses on the Chinese market.

In Taiwan, TSMC has continued to invest in next-generation technologies. The chipmaker plans to ramp up production of 7-nanometer chips next year, outstripping rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co.

TSMC said it would tapeout 13 new 7-nanometer products this year.