Combined revenues of Taiwan's top-3 foundries - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), United Microelectronics (UMC) and Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) - are estimated at US$9.96 billion in the first quarter of 2018, down 6.5% sequentially but up 10.4% from a year earlier, according to Digitimes Research.
A slowdown in shipments for Apple's iPhones, inventory adjustments at non-Apple device chipmakers, as well as seasonal factors, will lead to the sequential drop, Digitimes Research estimates.
TSMC will see revenues generated from 10nm process technology register a sequential decrease in the first quarter. Meanwhile, 28nm process utilization rates at the major Taiwan-based foundries are set to slide on quarter.
Taiwan's top-3 foundries are expected to see their combined revenues generated from 28nm and below process technologies decline 11.3% sequentially to account for 54.1% of the overall combined revenues in the first quarter of 2018, Digitimes Research estimates. The sales proportion will fall from 57% in the prior quarter.
In addition, TSMC is scheduled to enter volume production of 7nm chips in the first quarter of 2018 and revenues generated from the process technology will be driving the foundry's revenue growth in 2018.
Robust demand for AI applications, cryptocurrency mining ASICs, graphics chips and high-performance computing devices will be the new drivers of major Taiwan-based foundries' revenue growth in 2018. Digitimes Research forecasts that Taiwan's top-3 foundries will see their combined revenues increase 11.7% on year to US$42.31 billion in 2018.