The semiconductor business has been booming for last couple of years and there are indeed very few foundaries in the business, leading the line being Taiwan’s TSMC.
TSMC has been expanding business and is leading the semiconductor industry for quite some time now, and the man behind all this has to be its founder and former CEO Morris Chang.
Now, the man who has created the world’s biggest semiconductor foundry has admitted that South Korea’s Samsung is one of its biggest competitors now. He said TSMC has a complete IC industry supply chain, and a robust talent pool – South Korea also has such benefits, said Chang.
Chang added that both countries enjoy well-developed sea-air transport logistics, which are also critical to the local foundries’ competitiveness worldwide. Samsung, in recent years, is doubling down on investments and is competing toe-to-toe with TSMC as it supplies Qualcomm with 5nm chips and 8nm based chips to NVIDIA, both of which were TSMC’s biggest clients.
He also admitted that similar corporate culture is another factor that makes Samsung the strongest competitor of the foundry he founded. Commenting on China’s competitiveness, Chang believes that TSMC, in terms of technology, remains far ahead of its fellow China-based foundry companies.
China’s IC manufacturing capability overall is at least five years behind that of TSMC, Chang said. However, China’s IC design sector is just 1-2 years behind that in the US and Taiwan in terms of technology. Chang also remains skeptical about Intel’s ambition of being the foundry that could supply chips to customers as they are themselves lagging behind its roadmap.
In its early years, Intel is said to have declined a bid to invest in TSMC, probably not thinking contract chip making would have a future, Chang disclosed. But foundry services have become so important that now Intel wants to play a part.
According to Chang, the success of TSMC is not only because of the foundry model it has been embracing but also because of the leadership of professional managers and its focus on R&D and innovation. For TSMC, it is of great importance to stay ahead of competitors, Chang added.