Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. reportedly plans to boost its capital expenditure (CapEx) by 66% in 2013 in a bid to boost its abilities to manufacture chips using 28nm, 20nm manufacturing technologies and develop 16nm FinFET process. According to some rumors, one of the reasons for the major expansions of capacities is an agreement to manufacture chips for Apple.
TSMC has informed its equipment suppliers about plans to boost spending on lithography and other tools, reports Economic Daily News (which information is cited by Taiwan Economic News). The notification, according to the suppliers, implies that TSMC has solved the majority of technical issues with 20nm manufacturing technology and therefore predicts increased demand towards chips made using 20nm node in late 2013 and early 2014.
In case TSMC increases its capital expenditures to $10 billion next year from $6 billion this year, it will be considerably ahead of other foundries, such as Globalfoundries or United Microelectronics Corp. While TSMC may be behind both Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics when it comes to general CapEx rankings of semiconductor companies, it is unclear how much exactly Samsung spends on its foundry business and how much does it invest into its in-house semiconductor manufacturing.
According to market rumours TSMC has landed orders to make system-on-chips for 20nm process technologies for Apple. The latter has even sent a lot of its engineers to TSMC so that to learn more about the new process technology of TSMC and tailor the forthcoming A7 or even A8 SoCs for the node.
TSMC has declined to comment on the report and stressed that it will not announce 2013 capital expenditure until January next year. Apple also did not comment on the news-story.