TSMC new Nanjing fab to ship earlier than expected

RISING DEMAND::TSMC is to start mass producing its advanced 7nm chips next year, and is already in talks with more than 40 customers for the technology

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Dec 11, 2017 - Page 16

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) 12-inch wafer fab in Nanjing, China, is likely to start shipping to its customers in May, company co-chief executive officer Mark Liu (劉德音) told the chipmaker’s annual supply chain management forum on Thursday.

The timetable is about six months earlier than scheduled and indicative of the company’s leading status in the global contract chipmaking industry, as well as its ambition to seek a bigger share in the Chinese market.

TSMC broke ground for construction of the Nanjing plant in July last year and had scheduled mass production for the second half of next year.

The company has earmarked a budget of US$3 billion for the plant, dubbed Fab 16, along with a new design service center.

When construction is completed, it is to be the first factory in China capable of producing 16 nanometer (nm) chips and could help TSMC secure more orders as demand remains strong.

During the forum, Liu said TSMC has seen a wide range of applications in the development of artificial intelligence and 5G wireless technology since the company started pushing for four major growth segments — mobile, high-performance computing, automotive and Internet of Things platforms — two years ago.

To meet rising demand from chip designers and electronic companies for advanced semiconductors, TSMC is expected to start mass production of its 7nm chips next year, Liu said, adding that the firm is in talks with more than 40 customers for 7nm technology.

The company’s Fab 12 in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區) and Fab 15 in the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) will be the major production bases for 7nm chips, he said.

On Friday, TSMC said in a statement that revenue last month rose 0.1 percent year-on-year to NT$93.16 billion (US$3.1 billion), down 1.4 percent from October. In the first 11 months, cumulative revenue totaled NT$877.55 billion, up 2 percent from the same period last year, the company said.

Meanwhile, United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the nation’s second-largest contract chipmaker, on Friday reported revenue of NT$12.15 billion for last month, down 5.89 percent year-on-year and nearly 12 percent month-on-month, with January-to-November revenue rising 2.44 percent from a year ago to NT$138.62 billion.

Additional reporting by Lisa Wang