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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has responded to reports that its cutting-edge 3-nanometer (nm) chip manufacturing process technology is experiencing delays. Earlier reports today from research firms TrendForce and Isaiah Research indicated that TSMC’s 3nm process would face delays and affect the company’s partnership with US chip giant Intel Corporation, which has itself been plagued by manufacturing problems for several years.
TSMC’s response was standard, as the company declined to comment on its customers’ orders and said production technology was on schedule.
TSMC emphasizes that plans to increase capacity come after reports of hiccups
The two reports were the latest in a string of news stories that cast doubt on TSMC’s 3nm production plans. The first news appeared earlier this year rumors at firstand then confirmed that Korean chipmaker Samsung Foundry will begin 3nm production ahead of TSMC.
TSMC CEO Dr. CC Wei’s statements indicated that his company would do so start producing 3nm chips during the second half of this year. as TSMC aims to maintain the technological excellence that has made it the world’s largest contract chip maker.
TrendForce report the company believes that delaying 3nm production at Intel will hurt TSMC’s capital spending, as it will result in a 2023 costs may be reduced. It also didn’t shy away from placing some of the blame on Intel, saying that the design that was released in the first place was what caused production to jump to 2023. 1 half year from 2022 2nd half of the year, which is now postponed to 2023.
That, in turn, has affected TSMC’s capacity utilization estimates — and the company is wary of idle capacity as it struggles to get 3nm orders. TrendForce also shared that Apple will be TSMC’s first 3nm customer with products coming next year, while AMD, MediaTek and Qualcomm will mass produce 3nm products in 2024.
Isaiah Research has taken more into account the specifics of the delay by sharing the number of wafers originally expected to be produced and the decline after the alleged delay. TSMC originally planned for 15,000 to 20,000 3nm wafers per month through 2023, Isaiah said. but now this number has been reduced to 5,000-10,000 plates per month.
However, addressing concerns about spare capacity left by the cuts, the research firm remained upbeat, pointing out that most equipment (80%) for advanced manufacturing processes such as 5nm and 3nm are replaceable, meaning TSMC retains the possibility of using it for other customers.
TSMC’s response to the whole matter, sent to Taiwan’s United Daily News, was brief. claiming that:
“TSMC does not comment on the business of individual customers. The company’s capacity development project is proceeding as planned.
The semiconductor industry, which is currently facing a historic downturn due to a supply-demand mismatch following the coronavirus pandemic, has long considered cutting capacity and capital spending. Chinese foundries have cut their average selling prices (ASPs), and chipmakers in Taiwan have started offering different prices for different assemblies to keep up with demand.
But TSMC has made no such announcements, and the issue of balancing demand, especially for newer products, remains a thorn in the side for chipmakers as they risk spending too much on idle machines on the one hand, and reducing revenue collection if demand picks up on the other.