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TSMC Keeps Attacking Advanced Process Despite The Headwind

By Korbin Lan
Published: Jan 18,2019

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The growth of the semiconductor industry is to be very conservative in 2019. TSMC said in its four-quarter investor conference that the global semiconductor market growth would be only increased 1% while foundry will remain flat, and TSMC will higher than the average. However, TSMC said it would keep investing advanced process technology including 5nm and 3nm despite the economic downturn preparing for the next wave of technology competition.

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In spite of the great business opportunities of 5G and High-Performance Computing of IC industry, the weakening global economy and high inventory level will bring strong down-force to the growth of the semiconductor market in 2019. C.C. Wei, president of TSMC, said that the global semiconductor market (without memory) growth would be only increased 1% while foundry will remain flat, and TSMC will higher than the average.

Forecasting its revenue in the first quarter this year, Lora Ho, CFO of TSMC, said that the revenue of TSMC will decrease about 22% QoQ due to the weakening global economy, seasonality of smartphone, and high inventory level of the supply chain. And the capacity utilization of TSMC’ 7nm will drop largely which will cut the total revenue of 4%.

However, the cold economic forecast doesn’t slow down the investment of TSMC in the advance process node technology. The capital expenditure of TSMC this year will remain over US$10 billion for purchasing advanced process equipment including 7/5/3-nm production equipment, advanced packaging equipment, and specialty equipment.

For the long run, TSMC considers that new technology applications will boost the semiconductor industry to grow. Therefore, the company projected that it could have annual revenue growth of 5% to 10% in the future. And the needs of high-performance computing IC which ignited by AI and 5G will play the main driving forces.

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