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TSMC views Intel as indirect competitor

2012/01/02 19:30:28

Taipei, Jan. 2 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip-maker, views Intel Corp. as a special rival because the U.S. chip-maker is competing against TSMC's customers, company chairman Morris Chang said Monday.

"TSMC's technologies and performance have reached quite a high level, bringing us into contact with different rivals," Chang said in an interview with Chinese-language Economic Daily News.

"The competitors we face are Samsung Electronics Co. and GlobalFoundries Inc., with Intel standing 'behind a veil' because it is a rival against many of our customers," Chang said, adding that these TSMC customers include integrated circuit designers and integrated device manufacturers.

Intel, the world's top chip-maker, currently has two contract foundry customers making field programmable gate array (FPGA) products, which do not compete directly against TSMC, Chang said.

He said the semiconductor sector used to be led by giant U.S. and Japanese companies, but TSMC has been viewed by these companies as a "formidable" rival since two to three years ago due to its upgraded competitiveness.

Samsung and GlobalFoundries are newcomers in the industry, Chang said, and suggested that TSMC's customers should diversify their foundry sources rather than rely on TSMC only.

"All of our customers rely on TSMC in foundry production, and Intel relies on its own foundry plants," he said. "If our technologies are not improved enough and Intel keeps improving its technologies, our customers' products will lose competitiveness to those of Intel. It's horrible to imagine the outcome."

"TSMC will stand behind our customers and cooperate with them. The battlefield between our customers and Intel is where we compete against Intel," he added.

(By Jeffrey Wu)