DailyPost 2020

TSMC is the new foundry of the world, which propels the magic from an iPhone to F35 fighter aircrafts. Unknown to the world as something obscure, though hi-tech and still barely known, has made its presence felt globally in the most painful way. This was supposed to one component of the high-tech electronics and computer industry, and literally everything that has a compute in itself in some form or the other. Computation is what we live on, and the semiconductor industry provides that compute to the world. If data is the new oil, the chip is the new oil reserve. Without the chip nothing is going to come out of it. And TSMC is the jewel in the crown.

The chip crisis is what we have now got familiar with, the wrong way, when we started feeling the heat, for every product we required. The semiconductor supply chain came to limelight and also the dependence on nations. COVID-19 brought to the fore, the fab and the chain, which was presumed to be automatically happening for decades. Now the chinks in the armour are known. Nations after nations and companies are feeling the cliff hanger of their lives. They don’t know what has hit them. They want to come out of it, but it is not easy. The technology differential has widened and the chance of catching is weaker than ever. Even an immense amount of investment and expertise cannot reach you there in a very short time. You might get some very low hanging fruits. This is the catch22 situation the world is in, vis a vis the semiconductor production.

The company which rules the world is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, TSMC, is a contract manufacturing and design company. It is the most valuable semiconductor company as a logical extension can bring a large variety of companies to its knees, if the production is impacted. COVID-19 has exposed it all. It’s the world’s largest dedicated independent (pure-play) semiconductor foundry. The company and its all-pervasive products are engineering marvels, in the true sense of the term. Engineering marvels of this type money cannot create, even if by their very nature they are capital intensive. Most of the leading fabless semiconductor companies such as AMD, Apple, ARM, Broadcom, Marvell, Mediatek, and Nvidia are customers of TSMC.

Intel, NXP, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments, though owning fabrication units, outsource some of their production to TSMC. LSI re-sells TMSC wafers through its ASIC design services and design IP portfolio. The company has a global capacity of 13 million 300 mm-equivalent wafers per year. It manufactures with process nodes from 2 microns to 5 nanometre. ”TSMC is the first foundry to provide 7-nanometre and 5-nanometre for Apple A14 and M1 SoC respectively.” “TSMC is the first to commercialise extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology in high volume.” The commercial success is not less astounding. It has been able to give a compound annual growth rate, (CAGR) of 17.4% in revenue and a CAGR of 16.1% in earnings.

Sanjay Sahay

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