Shares of local contract chipmakers yesterday rose as much as the 10 percent daily limit, as investors bet on orders being transferred from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際) after the US imposed export restrictions on the Chinese chipmaker.
United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) shares soared 10 percent to close at NT$27.5 as 380 million shares changed hands on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
UMC is the world’s No. 3 foundry by revenue, followed by SMIC, according to data from market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技).
UMC has product and customer portfolios similar to those of SMIC, TrendForce said, adding that UMC offers 14-nanometer and less advanced chips similar to those SMIC provides.
To avoid operational risks, chip designers such as Qualcomm Inc and Broadcom Inc are likely to shift orders to non-Chinese foundries such as GlobalFoundries Inc, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), UMC or Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp (世界先進), TrendForce analyst Joanne Chiao (喬安) said in an e-mail responding to questions from the Taipei Times.
Smaller local foundry Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (力積電) and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co are also options, Chiao said.
The potential transfer of orders would worsen already tight supply constraints, with the utilization rate at local foundries already approaching 100 percent, she said.
Vanguard and TSMC shares rose 9.76 percent and 1.77 percent to close at NT$97.8 and NT$431.5 respectively.
Unlisted Powerchip makes CMOS image sensors, DRAM chips and driver ICs used in panels made for smartphones. The firm operates three 12-inch fabs and two 8-inch fabs in Taiwan, as well as a 12-inch fab in China.
A senior semiconductor analyst, who requested anonymity, said “there is an urgent need” for SMIC’s customers to transfer their orders to other contract chipmakers, but that might not provide an immediate revenue boost given their high utilization rates.
The effects of the transfer of orders would likely emerge next year, the analyst said.
It is worth watching to see whether any of the contract chipmakers increase their capital expenditure for next year, the analyst said.
Shares of SMIC, China’s largest chipmaker, yesterday fell 3.88 percent to close at HK$17.86 in Hong Kong trading, a four-month low.
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