TSMC outstrips Intel in wafer starts

Fabber and mobber of all factories

Taipei The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is now making more wafer starts than Intel and is up there in the top league of semi firms, it has emerged.

Shang yi Chiang, vice president of research and development at TSMC, also said that the firm, which acts as a foundry for so-called fabless firms, has streamlined its 12 fabs to produce four different types of semiconductor processes to cater for the different needs of the market.

Those chips will be CPUs, high performance DSPs, ASICs and low power devices said Chiang.

"TSMC is the only company in the world to offer such a broad technology spectrum," he boasted.

This year, TSMC will knock out 3.4 million eight inch wafers, while 12 inch production will start in the Hsinchu science park next spring, he said. TSMC is growing at 40 per cent a year.

The figures Chiang quoted seem to bear out his brag. Total worldwide production of wafers this year amounts to 57 million wafers. Next year, that figure will amount to 63 million eight inch wafers.

Of this figure, TSMC, Toshiba, Intel and Hyundai account for seven per cent. NEC has eight per cent this year, but TSMC will overtake it in 2001. ST Micro has five per cent, Hitachi six per cent, Samsung five per cent, UMC five per cent, Motorola five per cent, TI four per cent while the others corporation accounts for 34 per cent.

"In 2001 we will be the largest company to deliver silicon in area, but not in revenues," Chiang said.

Further, he said, although at one point some years ago TSMC lagged behind other semiconductor fabrication firms, but now he claims it has an eighteen month jump over Intel and others using .13 micron technology, copper whoppers and also twelve inch (300 mm) wafer technology.

Maybe Intel should get out of making 1GHz chips and into the foundry business.

Both Qualcomm and Via use TSMC as a chip foundry. It has over 300 other customers. ®