TSMC Will Kick Off Mass Production with 7nm Process in 2018

8 Sep

In the next five years, TSMC will derive its revenue from four major sources, namely smartphone, high-performance computing, IoT, and autotronics, with smartphone accounting for 50% of its 2020 revenue, followed by high-performance computing with 25%, and IoT and autotronics with the remaining 25% together, said Wang Yao-tung, senior director of the IoT department of TSMC, on Sept. 7.

At a preshow press conference for SEMICON Taiwan 2016, Wang noted that the company’s smartphone-related business will grow on both the increase of smartphone shipments and the value of chips. While shipment volume for smartphones chips will keep a median single-digit growth, value from medium- and high-end mobile-phone chips will score double-digit growth, although value from low-end mobile-phone chips will remain flat, predicted Wang. The growth in chip value, said Wang, will derive mainly from new applications for mobile phones, including twin lenses, ID safety detection, VR, and augmented reality, as well as the development of 4G+ and even 5G.

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As for high-performance computing, the popularity of Industry 4.0 will greatly expand the need for silicon chips in big-data analysis, as well as the need driven by the construction of data centers and network infrastructure, pointed out Wang. Another source of demand is the trend of strategic alliances among IC and IT firms for the development of inter-linkage specifications, greatly augmenting the performance of servers via synchronized computing. Moreover, cloud-end computing and in-depth learning and artificial intelligence will stimulate the need for high-performance computing chips, noted Wang.

As for IoT and autotronics, the development of processors and wireless communications, plus the rapid emergence of applications of various innovative detectors in IoT, will facilitate the materialization of wearable devices, VR, smart cities, and Industry 4.0. Advanced driving assistance system will need high-performance processors and detectors, entailing the demand for logic-process and embedded memories, for use in smart driving.

Development of 10nm, 7nm Processes Speeding up

Therefore, TSMC has been well planned for the mainstream sectors in the future, ready for provision of high-performance chips via the development of cutting-edge process. It is slated to start mass production with 10nm process by the end of 2016, as designs for three customers have been completed, with the number to be increased further by the end of the year. Contribution of products with 10nm process to revenue will become evident starting the first quarter of 2017.

Moreover, TSMC is expected to start mass production with 7nm process in the first quarter of 2018, one step ahead of its rivals, to be followed by trial production with 5nm process in the first half of 2019, three years after the company started to develop the process in early 2016. As for info packaging, TSMC has started mass production with 16nm high-caliber wafer packaging in 2016, which will contribute over US$100 million to the company’s revenue in the fourth quarter.

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