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Taiwan’s TSMC reaps benefits from 5 nm, 7 nm demand surge

World's largest contract chipmaker saw its revenue per wafer increase to US$1,634 in 2020

(Reuters photo)

(Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) saw its overall revenue per wafer increase by a significant margin in 2020 due to soaring demand for its 5 nm and 7 nm processes.

TSMC saw its revenue per wafer increase to US$1,634 (NT$45,588) last year, up from US$1,530 in 2019, according to a report by IC Insights. The report found that three of the four pure-play foundries — TSMC, Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), and China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (SMIC) — saw their revenue per wafer bumped up last year, while the U.S.' GlobalFoundries experienced a 1-percent drop.

UMC’s revenue per wafer rose to US$675 from US$668 in 2020, while SMIC’s went from US$620 to US$684. During that same period, GlobalFoundries saw its revenue per wafer fall from US$993 to US$984, according to the report.

In 2020, TSMC was the only pure-play foundry making both 7 and 5 nm chips, leading many of the world’s leading fabless chipmakers to turn to the Taiwanese company for advanced processes, pushing up TSMC’s revenue per wafer, according to IC Insights.

TSMC announced in January that it is budgeting US$25-28 billion for capital expenditures (capex) this year, up from US$17.2 billion in 2020. Around 80 percent of that will be used to increase its 5 nm and 7 nm capacity in addition to developing the company’s 3 nm process, which is slated to start risk production this year and volume production in 2022.