TSMC expects chip market to grow 20% next year

World's biggest foundry still optimistic

The market downturn notwithstanding, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's optimism continues unabated. Newly appointed deputy CEO F C Tseng yesterday said he expects chip sales to grow 20 per cent during 2002.

That's something of a rebound, marking a near complete reverse of the dip experienced this year when compared to 2000's record sales.

Tseng's forecast is largely at odds with other market watchers' predictions. While some - most notably Intel CEO Craig Barrett - say the worst is over and the market will begin to pick up through the current and last quarters of 2001, real recovery isn't expected until mid-2002.

Much depends on Intel's own drive to revive the PC market - and its own fortunes - by cutting Pentium 4 prices. The next round of cuts will take place on 26 August alongside the introduction of 1.9GHz and 2GHz versions of the chip, and the long-awaited i845 chipset, which hooks the P4 up to very low cost PC133 memory.

Intel is also betting on Windows XP, due to ship in October, as a second driver for new PC sales. TSMC is also relying on a Microsoft product: Xbox. It's producing the console's graphics and I/O chips, and undoubtedly expects them to contribute nicely to its bottom line over the next six months and beyond.

Tseng's comments follow his elevation to deputy CEO from company president. His new role will centre on steering TSMC's long-term technology strategy. Vice-president Tsai Li-shin takes over Tseng's former position, and will double-up as chief operating officer. ®