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Taiwan's TSMC becomes world's top chip maker by revenue for 1st time

TSMC has become 'biggest semiconductor company – of any kind – in the world': Analyst

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(TSMC photo)

(TSMC photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in 2023 became the top semiconductor company in the world in terms of revenue for the first time, beating out top rivals Samsung and Intel.

Dan Nystedt, vice president and research analyst at TriOrient Investments, on Sunday (Feb. 4) uploaded a Twitter thread saying that TSMC had reported US$69.30 billion (NT$2.17 trillion) in 2023 revenue. This far surpassed the US$54.23 billion in annual revenue reported by Intel and the US$50.99 billion in revenue announced by Samsung's chip division.

According to Nystedt, this is the first time there has been a change in the paramount position in the industry since Samsung surpassed Intel in 2017. Before that, Intel had been the industry leader since 1992.

As for Nvidia, Nystedt said that its revenue for last year came in at US$58.82 billion, enough to beat Samsung and Intel, but still trailing TSMC. In the fourth quarter alone, TSMC was well ahead at US$19.55 billion, followed by Samsung's chip division at US$16.42 billion and Intel at US$15.41 billion.

In operating profit, TSMC further dominated its rivals at US$8.16 billion, compared to Samsung's loss of US$1.86 billion and Intel's profit of US$2.59.

He said that TSMC is usually not listed among the top 10 semiconductor firms since it is a supplier rather than a designer with chips under its brand name. However, he said that TSMC's performance is still noteworthy because its revenues last year make it the "biggest semiconductor company – of any kind – in the world."

Shen Jung-chin (沈榮欽), an assistant professor at York University, on Facebook on Sunday (Feb. 4) shared Nystedt's post and said that TSMC "was founded in 1987, and after 36 years, it has become not only the largest wafer foundry manufacturer in the world, but also the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer."

When asked by Taiwan News to comment on the outlook for TSMC in 2024, Nystedt said it will be more difficult for the firm to maintain its top spot. He predicted that "Nvidia will win the overall chip revenue crown in 2024 due to strong demand for its GPUs used for generative AI."

Nystedt suggested that if the memory chip industry recovers, Samsung Electronics could come in 2nd place. Nevertheless, the analyst said, "It should still be a great year for TSMC, so we'll see what happens."