Due to better than expected demand towards semiconductors today, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) to increase manufacturing prices on 300mm wafers, according to a media report. Considering that advance chips, such as graphics processors, are made using complex process technologies on large 300mm wafers, the price increase is likely to affect quotes for graphics cards and other devices.
A vice chairman of TSMC – FC Tseng – reportedly implied recently that the foundry was seeing tight capacity at its 300mm fabs. Apparently, numerous customers have shifted from 130nm to 65nm process technology and TSMC was unprepared for that, reports DigiTimes web-site. Mr. Tseng seems to be correct: utilization of TSMC’s 55/65nm node became considerably more important for the company’s revenue this year, based on its own data.
TSMC said that as demand outlook continued to improve, third quarter saw a solid growth in the demand for semiconductors across all major applications. Advanced process technologies (130nm and below) accounted for 67% of wafer revenues: 90nm process technology accounted for 18% of wafer revenues, 65nm for 31%, and 40nm exceeded 4% of total wafer sales (up from 1% in Q2 and up from 0.33% in Q1).
Process Technologies as Percentage of TSMC's Revenue in 2009
According to the media report, TSMC's current utilization rate of 200mm fabs is at 75% and UMC's is at 85%, which hardly means that the two leading makers of chips will hardly reduce pricing of older semiconductors.
To make the matters worse, the report claims that testing and packaging facilities are also unlikely to reduce quotes on their services.
TSMC and UMC did not comment on the news-story.