Bits + chips
Digitimes Research: Taiwan top-3 foundries combined revenues to rise 13% in 3Q17
Nobunaga Chai, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

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$9.61 billion in the third quarter of 2017, up 13.3% sequentially but down 0.1% on year, according to Digitimes Research.

A pick-up in demand from China's smartphone market will lead to the sequential growth, accordig to Digitimes Research. Meanwhile, demand for 10nm chips for use in high-end mobile devices has been robust during the third quarter.

Revenues generated from the communications sector are expected to increase 17.8% sequentially to US$5.55 billion in the third quarter, Digitimes Research indicated. Revenues from the car electronics and industrial segments also played another growth driver in the third quarter rising 15.1% sequentially to US$2.22 billion.

TSMC's 10nm FinFET technology will start generating revenues substantially in the third quarter of 2017, Digitimes Research noted. Revenues generated from the process will top US$900 million in the third quarter from only US$70 million in the second quarter.

UMC's newer 14nm process began bringing in new revenues in the second quarter, but demand for the process has been disappointing with monthly capacity reaching only 2,000 12-inch wafers, Digitimes Research said. UMC has no plans to expand production capacity for the process.

In addition, demand for 8-inch wafer fabs has been growing robustly since 2017 thanks to strong demand for fingerprint sensors and power management chips, according to Digitimes Research. Taiwan's major foundries, which saw their 8-inch fabs run at full capacity, plan to expand production capacity at their 8-inch fabs.

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