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Morris Chang, founder, chairman and CEO of TSMC, has had a profound and lasting impact on the semiconductor industry - and when he speaks publicly, you know it comes with deep knowledge and insight. Such was the case at the TSMC 2013 Technology Symposium in San Jose, California April 9, where Chang provided a market outlook and corporate update in a morning session that included several keynotes.
Chang started his talk by noting that the semiconductor industry contracted 2% to 3% last year, but TSMC customers did better than the overall industry. He noted that the stock price index of TSMC customers generally outperformed the PHLX Semiconductor Sector (SOX). "This year we forecast 4% industry growth, but that's for the whole industry - we think there will be much higher growth for fabless companies, and most of our customers are fabless," he said. "We think fabless companies will enjoy 9% growth this year."
He then noted that "we are also optimistic about ourselves" and that TSMC expects growth in the teens. Chang said that TSMC has doubled its R&D expenditures in the past four years, and that its capital expenditures have increased 5X during this period. "Our capacity is the highest the world, and we have been hard at work increasing high-use capacity," he added.
But it's not just a numbers game, Chang said. "I think we should talk about more important things. For the past few years our customers have come to dominate several segments in the IC market - baseband, mobile, smartphone, tablets, hard disk drives, display drivers -that, more than the numbers I cited, shows the success that we are all enjoying."
Chang talked about the importance of the IC design and manufacturing ecosystem, and described a "Grand Alliance" that TSMC is forging with IP providers, equipment and materials providers, and Open Integration Platform (OIP) members. He noted that this alliance spends more on R&D than any large IDM.
Chang reiterated TSMC's mission, which is to be the "trusted technology and capacity provider" for the semiconductor industry. "We will relentlessly pursue our goals to advance our technology and to grow more capacity," he said. "We will never compete with you. We support you. If we form this Grand Alliance we all win."
Keynote speeches were also given by TSMC executives Jack Sun, Vice President of R&D and Chief Technology Officer; Cliff Hou, Vice President of R&D; and J.K. Wang, Vice President of Operations, 300mm Fabs. Topics included the 20nm planar, 16nm FinFET, and 10nm FinFET process nodes. These talks are covered in a subsequent blog post.
Photo: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.