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TSMC's 5nm wafer foundry to break ground on Jan. 26

2018/01/19 22:21:29

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 19 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, said Friday that it is scheduled to break ground for a new foundry to produce the advanced 5 nanometer wafer in the Southern Taiwan Science Park on Jan. 26.

TSMC said it issued invitations on Friday to its guests to attend the ground-breaking ceremony, which will be presided over by its Chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀).

In November, TSMC's board meeting approved a capital appropriation plan of US$4.28 billion and out of the budget, about US$1.67 billion will be used for construction of the 5nm plant in Tainan City.

The chipmaker has not yet disclosed the total investment for the new 5nm plant. Market analysts have anticipated Chang will give more details about the financial terms of the new plant at the ceremony.

TSMC said the 5nm plant is scheduled to start mass production in 2020.

Its latest technology to enter commercial production is the advanced 10 nanometer processor. At the same time, the chip maker is developing 7nm, 5nm and even 3nm processes in a bid to maintain its lead over competitors in the global semiconductor market.

In September, TSMC announced a plan to build a 3nm foundry, also in Tainan. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020, with mass production expected to start in 2022.

Currently, TSMC grasps a more than 50 percent share in the global contract chip production, leaving its rivals far behind.

As for its 7nm process, TSMC said, shipments on a small scale will start in the second quarter of this year and production is expected to increase sharply in the second half of this year.

Analysts said such a production schedule is expected to meet market demand as international brands, including Apple Inc., launch their new products later this year.

Outside Taiwan, TSMC has a 12-inch wafer plant in Nanjing which uses the chipmaker's 16nm process technology. The Nanjing plant is scheduled to start shipments in May.

In the fourth quarter of last year, chips made on the 10nm process made up 25 percent of TSMC's total sales of NT$277.57 billion (US$9.41 billion). In 2017, the 10nm technology accounted for 10 percent of the chipmaker's total revenue valued at NT$977.45 billion.

Shares of TSMC rose 2.82 percent to close at the day's high of NT$255.50 on Friday, following a 2.69 rise on Thursday, as the chipmaker forecast its sales will grow 10-15 percent in U.S. dollar terms in 2018, beating a market estimate of a 5-10 percent increase. The broader Taiex closed up 0.72 percent at 11,150.85.

(By Chang Chien-chung and Frances Huang)