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TSMC, UMC start to push Q2 2002 capacity bookings

Q1 capacity likely to be limited

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Semiconductor companies are being asked by Taiwanese foundries TSMC and UMC to book early to avoid disappointment - very early. Chip design sources claim they are already been asked to book Q2 2002 capacity.

The foundries' request centres on their 0.15 and 0.13 micron production lines. Indeed, TSMC is already believed to be running at maximum capacity at these geometries and is telling potential customers that its lines are sold out. TSMC and UMC are taking orders for Q1 2002, though they say that capacity may be limited.

Demand for 0.15 micron and 0.13 micron parts is clearly increasing faster than either company had anticipated. Both lines count for only a fraction of TSMC's total capacity, for example. So while the company - the world's largest chip foundry - says both lines have sold out, it is still running overall at less than 60 per cent of its total production capacity.

For that reason, it's unlikely that the demand for high-end parts is a sign that the world chip market is about to rebound as dramatically as it collapsed a year ago. ®

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