Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) plans to allocate a larger portion, or about 9 percent, of its total revenue this year to research and development (R&D) on cutting-edge technologies to safeguard its technological lead amid intensifying competition, the chipmaker’s annual report said.
That could bring TSMC’s R&D budget to more than NT$110 billion (US$3.65 billion) if it reaches its goal of growing revenue by more than 15 percent annually this year — to at least NT$1.23 trillion.
This year’s spending would be a 20 percent increase over last year’s record-high R&D expenditure of NT$91.42 billion.
The bulk, or 70 percent, of this year’s R&D budget is to be spent on advanced technologies, including the 3 nanometer (nm) technology platform and applications, next-generation technologies and 3D IC for system-in-package modules, the report said.
TSMC, a pioneer in the semiconductor industry, said that it began R&D on 2nm technology last year, as it targets 5G-related applications and high-performance-computing devices.
“To maintain and strengthen TSMC’s technology leadership, the company plans to continue investing heavily in R&D,” the report said.
“The markets for TSMC’s foundry services are highly competitive. TSMC competes with other foundry service providers, as well as with a number of integrated device manufacturers,” the company said, referring to the competition it faces.
If TSMC is unable to effectively take on these new and aggressive competitors when it comes to technology, manufacturing capacity, product quality and customer satisfaction, it risks losing customers to these new contenders, the report said.
TSMC, which commands a 52 percent share of the world’s foundry market, competes primarily with Samsung Electronics Co for advanced technology orders, while its Chinese rival Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯) is positioning itself to take a bite out of TSMC’s share in China.
TSMC last week said that it plans to increase production of 3nm technology in the second half of 2022, which would make it the foremost foundry offering the technology.
The chipmaker’s report also warned of possible negative effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the coronavirus might interrupt the global semiconductor supply chain and disrupt some of its suppliers.
There could be downward adjustments in customer demand or production delays for TSMC products, due to forced closures, or partial operations, at factories and offices, the report said.
Due to fallout from the pandemic, the chipmaker expects the global semiconductor industry to see stagnant revenue this year, at best, it said, adding that the industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5 percent between last year and 2024.
The chipmaker also disclosed that company chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) and CEO C.C. Wei (魏哲家) received NT$293 million in compensation apiece last year, accounting for 0.085 percent of net profits last year, the report showed.
Last year, the company paid NT$1.545 billion in compensation to its high-ranking executives.
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