News Posts matching #Taiwan

Return to Keyword Browsing

Global Chip Shortage Takes Another Toll... Now Your Home Router?

The global supply of semiconductor processors has been at risk lately. Starting from GPUs to CPUs, the demand for both has been much greater than the available supply. Manufacturing companies, such as TSMC, have been expanding capacities, however, they have not yet been able to satisfy the demand. We have seen the results of that demand in a form of the scarcity of the latest generation of graphics cards, covering NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3000 series Ampere, and AMD' Radeon RX 6000 series Big Navi graphics cards. Consumers have had a difficult time sourcing them and they have seen artificial price increase that is much higher than their original MSRP.

However, it doesn't seem like the situation will improve. According to the latest reporting from Bloomberg, the next victim of global chip shortage is... you guessed it, your home internet router. The cited sources have noted that the waiting list to get a batch of ordered routers has doubled the waiting time, from the regular 30 weeks to 60-week waiting time. This represents a waiting list that is more than a year long. With the global COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, there is an increased need for better home router equipment, and delays can only hurt broadband providers that supply routers. Taiwan-based router manufacturer Zyxel Communications, notes that the company has seen massive demand for their equipment. Such a massive demand could lead to insufficient supply, which could increase prices of routers well above their MSRP and bring scarcity of them as well.

Intel Could Rename its Semiconductor Nodes to Catch Up with the Industry

In the past few years, Intel has struggled a lot with its semiconductor manufacturing. Starting from the 10 nm fiasco, the company delayed the new node for years and years, making it seem like it is never going to get delivered. The node was believed to be so advanced that it was unexpectedly hard to manufacture, giving the company more problems. Low yields have been present for a long time, and it is only recently that Intel has started shipping its 10 nm products. However, its competitor, TSMC, has been pumping out nodes at an amazing rate. At the time of writing, the Taiwanese giant is producing the 5 nm node, with a 4 nm node on the way.

So to remain competitive, Intel would need to apply a new tactic. The company has a 7 nm node in the works for 2023 when TSMC will switch to the 3 nm+ nodes. That represents a marketing problem, where the node naming convention is making Intel inferior to its competitors. To fix that, the company will likely start node renaming and give its nodes new names, that are corresponding to the industry naming conventions. We still have no information how will the new names look like, or if Intel will do it in the first place, so take this with a grain of salt.

Revenue of Top 10 IC Design (Fabless) Companies for 2020 Undergoes 26.4% Increase YoY, Says TrendForce

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 1H20 seemed at first poised to devastate the IC design industry. However, as WFH and distance education became the norm, TrendForce finds that the demand for notebook computers and networking products also spiked in response, in turn driving manufacturers to massively ramp up their procurement activities for components. Fabless IC design companies that supply such components therefore benefitted greatly from manufacturers' procurement demand, and the IC design industry underwent tremendous growth in 2020. In particular, the top three IC design companies (Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Nvidia) all posted YoY increases in their revenues, with Nvidia registering the most impressive growth, at a staggering 52.2% increase YoY, the highest among the top 10 companies.

Container Ship Meets with an Accident, Clogging the Suez Canal

A super-heavy merchant ship has met with an accident, causing it to turn sideways, and effectively clogging the Suez Canal. The 400 m (1,312 ft) long ship turned sideways, causing it to run aground, into the canal's embankments. Why is this important? Notwithstanding the fact that the incident has caused the biggest backlog of ships at the Suez Canal, a vital trade-route linking Asia and Europe; the Panama-registered ship is operated by Taiwan's largest shipping company, Evergreen. The company, which also owns EVA Air, Taiwan's second largest airline, is believed to handle a bulk of the nation's electronics exports. This particular vessel, bearing the call-sign "Ever Given," was bound for the Dutch port of Rotterdam from China. A mariner aboard its trailing vessel, the Maersk Denver, captured this image of the beached ship. The disruption has caused several days worth shipping backlog, and could affect both ends of the supply-chain.

TSMC Could Build Six GigaFabs in Arizona

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of the largest manufacturers of silicon, is seemingly making plans to build as many as six of its US-based fabs in Arizona. According to the unconfirmed report coming from UDN, TSMC could be building its Arizona-based factories for much larger capacities. Based on TSMC's classifications, the MegaFab-class of factories is the one with 25,000 WSPM output. According to the report, TSMC plans to build six additional facilities in the area where the Arizona fab is, and have a GigaFab-class (even larger type) factory present on US soil. Currently, the company operates six GigaFabs and all of them are based in Taiwan.

The GigaFab class factory is supposed to have over 100,000 WSPM output, and by building one in the US, TSMC could get much closer to big customers like Apple, NVIDIA, and AMD. Reports are saying that TSMC's primary target is 3 nm node production on 12-inch (300 mm) wafers. All six of the supposed facilities are expected to output more than 100,000 wafers at their peak, making it one of the largest projects TSMC has ever done. The Arizona location is supposed to serve as a "mega fab" facility and it is supposed to start manufacturing silicon in 2024. This information is, of course, just a rumor so you should take it with a grain of salt, as this type of information is usually only known by top-level management.

DRAM Revenue for 4Q20 Undergoes Modest 1.1% Increase QoQ in Light of Continued Rising Shipment and Falling Prices, Says TrendForce

Global DRAM revenue reached US$17.65 billion, a 1.1% increase YoY, in 4Q20, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. For the most part, this growth took place because Chinese smartphone brands, including Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, expanded their procurement activities for components in order to seize the market shares made available after Huawei was added to the Entity List by the U.S. Department of Commerce. These procurement activities in turn provided upward momentum for DRAM suppliers' bit shipment. However, clients in the server segment were still in the middle of inventory adjustments during this period, thereby placing downward pressure on DRAM prices. As a result, revenues of most DRAM suppliers, except for Micron, remained somewhat unchanged in 4Q20 compared to 3Q20. Micron underwent a noticeable QoQ decline in 4Q20 (which Micron counts as its fiscal 1Q21), since Micron had fewer work weeks during this period compared to the previous quarter.

Explosive Growth in Automotive DRAM Demand Projected to Surpass 30% CAGR in Next Three Years, Says TrendForce

Driven by such factors as the continued development of autonomous driving technologies and the build-out of 5G infrastructure, the demand for automotive memories will undergo a rapid growth going forward, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Take Tesla, which is the automotive industry leader in the application of autonomous vehicle technologies, as an example. Tesla has adopted GDDR5 DRAM products from the Model S and X onward because it has also adopted Nvidia's solutions for CPU and GPU. The GDDR5 series had the highest bandwidth at the time to complement these processors. The DRAM content has therefore reached at least 8 GB for vehicles across all model series under Tesla. The Model 3 is further equipped with 14 GB of DRAM, and the next-generation of Tesla vehicles will have 20 GB. If content per box is used as a reference for comparison, then Tesla far surpasses manufacturers of PCs and smartphones in DRAM consumption. TrendForce forecasts that the average DRAM content of cars will continue to grow in the next three years, with a CAGR of more than 30% for the period.

Apple is Reportedly Working with TSMC on a Special Micro OLED Panel Technology

OLED panes are expertise areas of display makers such as LG and Samsung, however, when it comes to Apple, they have to rely on external manufacturers to make a display. For years Apple has been contracting LG and Samsung to make the display for iPhones and Macs, but it looks like Apple is now collaborating with another firm to develop micro OLED technology. According to sources over at Nikkei Asia, Apple is collaborating with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to develop "ultra-advanced display technology at a secretive facility in Taiwan". Despite TSMC not being the traditional choice for panel manufacturing, there is a list of reasons why Apple chose its years-long partner to work with.

TSMC is known for manufacturing silicon chips, however, Apple envisions that the Taiwan maker will manufacture ultra-advanced micro OLED technology using wafers. Building the displays using wafers will result in much lower power consumption and far lower size. Why is this approach necessary you might wonder? Well, Apple is developing a new generation of AR glasses and there needs to be a solid display technology for them to exist. It is reported that the new micro OLED displays are under development and are about one inch in diameter. The source also adds that this is just one out of two projects being worked on inside of Apple's secretive labs located in the Taiwanese city of Taoyuan. What is the other project remains a mystery, however, with more time we could get information on that as well.

TSMC to Put Away More Capacity for Automotive Industry if Possible

TSMC is one of the world's biggest semiconductor manufacturers, and the company is currently the leading provider of the newest technologies like 5 nm and 3 nm, along with advanced packaging. So far, TSMC's biggest customers have included Apple, NVIDIA, AMD, etc., where the company has mainly produced chips for mobile phones and PCs/Servers. However, Taiwan's Economics Ministry has announced that they have spoken to TSMC and have reached an agreement that the company will be putting away some additional capacity for the automotive industry, specifically for the production of automotive chips. The reason for this push is the increasing shortage of semiconductors for automakers, experienced due to the Trump administration sanctions against key Chinese chip factories.

TSMC has stated that "Other than continuously maximizing utilization of our existing capacity, Dr. Wei also confirmed in our investors' conference that we are working with customers closely and moving some of their mature nodes to more advanced nodes, where we have a better capacity to support them". The company also states that their capacities are fully utilized for now, however, TSMC has ensured ministry that "if production can be increased by optimizing production capacity, it will cooperate with the government to regard automotive chips as a primary application." That means that TSMC will not decrease any existing capacity, but rather just evaluate any increased capacity for automotive chip production.

Industry R&D Spending To Rise 4% After Hitting Record in 2020: IC Insights

Research and development spending by semiconductor companies worldwide is forecast to grow 4% in 2021 to $71.4 billion after rising 5% in 2020 to a record high of $68.4 billion, according to IC Insights' new 2021 edition of The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry. Total R&D spending by semiconductor companies is expected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% between 2021 and 2025 to $89.3 billion.

When the world was hit by the Covid-19 virus health crisis in 2020, wary semiconductor suppliers kept a lid on R&D spending increases, even though total semiconductor industry revenue grew by a surprising 8% in the year despite the economic fallout from the deadly pandemic. Semiconductor R&D expenditures as a percentage of worldwide industry sales slipped to 14.2% in 2020 compared to 14.6% in 2019, when research and development spending declined 1% and total semiconductor revenue fell 12%. Figure 1 plots semiconductor R&D spending levels and the spending-to-sales ratios over the past two decades and IC Insights' forecast through 2025.

TSMC Ends Its Volume Discounts For the Biggest Customers, Could Drive Product Prices Up

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world, is reportedly ending its volume discounts. The company is the maker of the currently smallest manufacturing nodes, like 7 nm and 5 nm. For its biggest customers, TSMC used to offer a discount - when you purchase 10s or 100s of thousands of 300 mm (12-inch) wafers per month, the company will give you a deal of a 3% price decrease per wafer, meaning that the customer is taking a higher margin off a product it sells. Many of the customers, like Apple, NVIDIA, and AMD, were a part of this deal.

Today, thanks to a report from the Taiwanese Central News Agency, TSMC is terminating this type of discount. Now, every customer will pay full price for the wafer, without any exceptions. For now, it is unclear what drove that decision at TSMC's headquarters, but the only thing that we could think is that the demand is too high to keep up with the discounts and the margins are possibly lower. What this means for consumers is a possible price increase in products that are manufactured at TSMC's facilities. The consumer market is already at a drought of new PC components like CPUs and GPUs due to high demand and scalping. This could contribute a bit to the issue, however, we do not expect it to be of any major significance.

DRAM ASP to Recover from Decline in 1Q21, with Potential for Slight Growth, Says TrendForce

The DRAM market exhibits a healthier and more balanced supply/demand relationship compared with the NAND Flash market because of its oligopolistic structure, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The percentage distribution of DRAM supply bits by application currently shows that PC DRAM accounts for 13%, server DRAM 34%, mobile DRAM 40%, graphics DRAM 5%, and consumer DRAM (or specialty DRAM) 8%. Looking ahead to 1Q21, the DRAM market by then will have gone through an inventory adjustment period of slightly more than two quarters. Memory buyers will also be more willing to stock up because they want to reduce the risk of future price hikes. Therefore, DRAM prices on the whole will be constrained from falling further. The overall ASP of DRAM products is now forecasted to stay generally flat or slightly up for 1Q21.

1 Hour Power Outage at Micron Manufacturing Plant Could Mean Increased DRAM Prices Throughout 2021

Semiconductor manufacturing is a risky business. Not only is it heavily capital-intensive, which means that even some state-backed would-be players can fail in pooling together the required resources for an industry break-in; but the entire nature of the manufacturing process is a delicate balance of materials, nearly-endless fabrication, cleanup, and QA testing. Wafer manufacturing can take months between the initial fabrication stages through to the final packaging process; and this means that power outages or material contamination can jeopardize an outrageous number of in-fabrication semiconductors.

Recent news as covered by DigiTimes place one of Micron's fabrication plants in Taiwan as being hit with a 1-hour long power outage, which can potentially affect 10% of the entire predictable DRAM supply for the coming months (a power outage affects every step of the manufacturing process). Considering the increased demand for DRAM components due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated demand for DRAM-inside products such as PCs, DIY DRAM, laptops, and tablets, industry players are now expecting a price hike for DRAM throughout 2021 until this sudden supply constraint is dealt with. As we know, DRAM manufacturers and resellers are a fickle bunch when it comes to increasing prices in even the slightest, dream-like hint of reduced supply. It remains to be seen how much of this 10% DRAM supply is actually salvageable, but projecting from past experience, a price hike seems to be all but guaranteed.

TSMC Completes Its Latest 3 nm Factory, Mass Production in 2022

They say that it is hard to keep up with Moore's Law, however, for the folks over at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), that doesn't seem to represent any kind of a problem. Today, to confirm that TSMC is one of the last warriors for the life of Moore's Law, we have information that the company has completed building its manufacturing facility for the next-generation 3 nm semiconductor node. Located in Southern Taiwan Science Park near Tainan, TSMC is expecting to start high-volume manufacturing of the 3 nm node in that Fab in the second half of 2022. As always, one of the first customers expected is Apple.

Estimated to cost an amazing 19.5 billion US Dollars, the Fab is expected to have an output of 55,000 300 mm (12-inch) wafers per month. Given that the regular facilities of TSMC exceed the capacity of over 100K wafers per month, this new facility is expected to increase the capacity over time and possibly reach the 100K level. The new 3 nm node is going to use the FinFET technology and will deliver a 15% performance gain over the previous 5 nm node, with 30% decreased power use and up to 70% density increase. Of course, all of those factors will depend on a specific design.

TSMC Partners With Google and AMD to Push 3D Silicon

Silicon manufacturing is starting to get harder and harder every day, with new challenges appearing daily. It requires massive investment and massive knowledge to keep a silicon manufacturing company afloat. No company can survive that alone, so some collaborations are emerging. Today, thanks to the sources of Nikkei Asia, we have information that Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is collaborating with Google to push the production of 3D chip manufacturing process, that is said to overcome some of the silicon manufacturing difficulties. The sources also say that AMD is involved in the process as well, making Google and AMD the first customers of the advanced 3D chip design. The two companies are preparing designs for the new way of creating silicon and will help TSMC test and certify the process.

TSMC will deploy the 3D silicon manufacturing technology at its chip packaging plant in Miaoli, which is supposed to do mass production in 2022. With Google and AMD being the first customers of new 3D technology, it is exciting to see what new products will look like and how they will perform. The 3D approach is said to bring huge computing power increase, however, it is a waiting game now to see how it will look like.

Intel to Keep Its Number One Semiconductor Supplier Ranking in 2020: IC Insights

IC Insights' November Update to the 2020 McClean Report, released later this month, includes a discussion of the forecasted top-25 semiconductor suppliers in 2020. This research bulletin covers the expected top-15 2020 semiconductor suppliers (Figure 1).

The November Update also includes a detailed five-year forecast through 2024 of the IC market by product type (including dollar volume, unit shipments, and average selling price) and a forecast of the major semiconductor industry capital spenders for 2020. A five-year outlook for total semiconductor industry capital spending is also provided.

Intel Sells Its Power Management Chip Business, Enpirion, to Mediatek for $85 Million

Intel continues to "shed fat" on its business portfolio. After last year's sale of its smartphone modem chip business to Apple, the company is now parting ways with its power management circuitry division - Enpirion - and offloading it to Richtek, a division of Taiwanese MediaTek. The sale price of $85 million is a drop in the bucket for Intel's overall bottom line, so it's not a way for the company to cash in some desperately needed money - all accounts of Intel's troubles in the wake of its semiconductor manufacturing issues and AMD's market resurgence pale in comparison to Intel's revenues.

This actually looks like a company that's actually streamlining its R&D expenditures and focusing on execution for the markets Intel sees as most important for today and for tomorrow. Intel's Enpirion focuses on building power management chips for FPGA circuits, SoCs, CPUs, and ASICs, and will now serve to bolster MediaTek's SoC business while allowing the Taiwanese company to expand and diversify its business portfolio, even as Intel focuses on their core competencies.

Samsung Could Become Apple's Newest Chip Supplier

Apple has recently announced its transition to Apple Silicon, meaning that every processor inside its products will be custom designed by the company. However, that seems to be becoming a bit of a problem. The sole supplier of chips for Apple has been Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which Apple collaborated with for the past few years. The sheer capacity of TSMC is enough to satisfy the demand from several companies and thus it allows some of them to book its capacity. With Apple demanding more and more capacity than ever before, it is becoming quite hard to keep up with it. That is why Apple is, according to some analysts for Business Korea, looking for a foundry beyond TSMC's to manufacture its chips.

According to the source, Apple is looking at the direction of Samsung Electronics and its silicon manufacturing facilities. Samsung has recently started the production of its 5 nm silicon manufacturing node. We have reported that the first SoCs are set to arrive soon. However, it may be possible that Apple's M1 lineup of SoCs will be a part of that first wave. Apple is reportedly going to tap both TSMC and Samsung to qualify enough supply for the huge demand of the products based on the latest 5 nm technology.

IP Theft: UMC Pleads Guilty to US Court Charges of Trade Secret Theft, Faces $60 Million Fine

Taiwanese corporation United Micro Electronics (UMC) has pled guilty on charges of trade theft. The charges, originally pressed in November 2018 by US authorities, placed UMC and China's Fujian Jinhua in hot waters under suspicion of stealing trade secrets from US-based Micron technologies, one of the world's foremost players in memory semiconductor technologies. UMC's guilty plea serves as a way for the company to avoid heavier penalties, and includes a provision for the company's assistance in investigating Fujian Jinhua's actions in regards to this IP theft.

The whole story revolves around UMC's hiring of three Micron employees from Micron's subsidiary in Taiwan, Micron Memory Taiwan (MMT), back around September 2015. At least two of these employees migrated Micron trade secrets to UMC, which then inked a deal with china's Fujian Jinhua for the development of 32nm DRAM and "32Snm" DRAM technologies that Fujian Jinhua could then deploy for the manufacture of memory products - a deal which had Fujian Jinhua paying $300 million for equipment purchase plus $400 million for technology development to UMC. This all fell in line with the Chinese government's Made in China 2025 plan, which aims to bring the country to semiconductor independence from the western world. UMC says that the company itself didn't partake in the underhanded IP delivery to Fujian Jinhua, claiming instead that rogue employees did so of their own volition. The company further states that it only pleads guilty because according to the US Trade Secrets Act, the company still bears legal responsibilities for employee acts, whether or not top management is involved.

Apple A14 SoC Put Under the Microscope; Die Size, and Transistor Density Calculated

Apple has established itself as a master of silicon integrated circuit design and has proven over the years that its processors deliver the best results, generation after generation. If we take a look at the performance numbers of the latest A14 Bionic, you can conclude that its performance is now rivaling some of the x86_64 chips. So you would wonder, what is inside this SoC that makes it so fast? That is exactly what ICmasters, a semiconductor reverse engineering and IP services company, has questioned and decided to find out. For starters, we know that Apple manufactures the new SoCs on TSMC's N5 5 nm node. The Taiwanese company promises to pack 171.3 million transistors per square millimeter, so how does it compare to an actual product?

ICmasters have used electron microscopy to see what the chip is made out of and to measure the transistor density. According to this source, Apple has a chip with a die size of 88 mm², which packs 11.8 billion N5 transistors. The density metric, however, doesn't correspond to that of TSMC. Instead of 171.3 million transistors per mm², the ICmasters measured 134.09 million transistors per mm². This is quite a difference, however, it is worth noting that each design will have it different due to different logic and cache layout.
Apple A14 SoC Die Apple A14 SoC

China Forecast to Represent 22% of the Foundry Market in 2020, says IC Insights

IC Insights recently released its September Update to the 2020 McClean Report that presented the second of a two-part analysis on the global IC foundry industry and included a look at the pure-play foundry market by region.

China was responsible for essentially all of the total pure-play foundry market increase in 2018. In 2019, the U.S./China trade war slowed China's economic growth but its foundry marketshare still increased by two percentage points to 21%. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 shutdown of China's economy earlier this year, China's share of the pure-play foundry market is forecast to be 22% in 2020, 17 percentage points greater than it registered in 2010 (Figure 1).

Apple is Quickly Expanding its Data Centers

Thanks to the latest reportings from DigiTimes, we have obtained information that Apple has been working on expanding its data centers. According to Taiwan's server upstream supply chain, Apple has increased orders for its data centers, which have been growing starting from the second quarter of 2020. For the full year 2020, the orders are expected to be doubled, and the growth in purchasing is going to continue well into 2021. This purchasing decision from Apple comes after strong demand for its services like iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV, App Store, etc., all of which have millions of users. Being that Apple is expanding its data centers, that must represent a sign that Apple's user base is continuing to grow strongly.

TSMC Owns 50% of All EUV Machines and Has 60% of All EUV Wafer Capacity

TSMC had been working super hard in the past few years and has been investing in lots of new technologies to drive the innovation forward. At TSMC's Technology Symposium held this week was, the company has presented various things like the update on its 12 nm node, as well as future plans for node development. One of the most interesting announcements made this week was TSMC's state and ownership of Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) machines. ASML, the maker of these EUV machines used to etch the pattern on silicon, has been the supplier of the Taiwanese company. TSMC has announced that they own an amazing 50% of all EUV machine installations.

What is more important is the capacity that the company achieves with it. It is reported that TSMC achieves 60% of all EUV wafer capacity in the world, which is a massive achievement of what TSMC can do with the equipment. The company right now has only two nodes on EUV in high-volume manufacturing, the 7 nm+ node and 5 nm node (which is going HVM in Q4), however, that is more than any of its competitors. All of the future nodes are to be manufactured using the EUV machines and the smaller nodes require it. As far as the competitors go, only Samsung is currently making EUV silicon on the 7 nm LPP node. Intel is yet to release some products on a 7 nm node of its own, which is the first EUV node from the company.

DRAM Revenue Rises by 15.4% in 2Q20, with Possible Decline in Prices Expected for 3Q20, Says TrendForce

The last cyclical upturn in DRAM contract prices began at the start of 2020 and was led by server DRAM, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In 2Q20, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic shocked the global economy, but OEMs maintained or even stepped up procurement of components because they feared disruptions in the supply chain. As a result, DRAM suppliers' bit shipments surpassed expectations for the quarter, in turn widening the overall increase in DRAM ASP and raising the global DRAM revenue by 15.4% QoQ in 2Q20 to US$17.1 billion.

Nevertheless, TrendForce indicates that server OEMs are now carrying a rather high level of DRAM inventory after aggressively stocking up for two consecutive quarters. At the same time, customers of enterprise servers are holding back on procurement because the economic outlook is getting bleaker and more uncertain. Since server DRAM has the unique role of leading cyclical changes, this category is going to be first to experience price drop in the next downturn and thereby pull prices down for other types of DRAM products. As such, TrendForce forecasts at best a flattening of product shipments and decrease in DRAM prices in 3Q20, with DRAM suppliers suffering a decline in profitability.

Chinese Fabs Attracted Over 100 TSMC Veteran Engineers Since 2019: Report

A Nikkei investigative report uncovered that two Chinese semiconductor fabrication firms, namely Quanxin Integrated Circuit Manufacturing (QXIC), and Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (HSMC), have poached over 100 veteran semiconductor engineers from TSMC since last year. Both firms are recipients of government funding under China's ambitious plan of complete electronics hardware industry independence by 2025. Both firms were floated as recently as 2017, and began hiring specialist engineers and executives with connections across the semiconductor industry, from TSMC. The two began development of a 14 nm-class FinFET node that would support manufacturing of a wide variety of electronics components, including SoCs, ASICs, transceivers, and storage products.

Nikkei estimates that in a span of a year, Taiwan lost more than 3,000 semiconductor engineers to various start-ups in the mainland, including large semiconductor fabs. Sources in TSMC tell the Japanese publication that the company is "very concerned" about the flight of talent toward China, although it didn't believe that there is any immediate danger to the company's output or technological edge. The source advocated a national-level strategy by various Asian governments to retain talent, not through coercion, but by offering better incentives and pay than the Chinese firms flush with public investment.
Return to Keyword Browsing