According to a report on June 4th in the Nikkei News Network, the current global market share of TSMC's chip foundry business is as high as 56%. In addition to being an appleiPhoneIn addition to the sole supplier of mobile phone core processor chips, TSMC has a total of 465 customers worldwide, including almost all major global chip designers. Apple, Qualcomm, AMD, Nvidia, Broadcom, NXP, Huawei's chip division Hass, MediaTek and other companies rely on TSMC's cutting-edge manufacturing processes to create advanced chips.
TSMC has planned future 3nm process chips
In addition to appointing successors, Zhang Zhongmou has also made a general development plan for the future of TSMC before he retires.
According to Taiwan’s “The World Magazine” report, an independent analyst, Andrew Lu, provided Smartkarma’s report in October 2017 that Zhang Zhongmou has planned TSMC’s R&D, design, experiment, trial production and mass production in the next two years, including 7nm, 5nm, 3nm process chips.
Apple’s most advanced mobile phone, the iPhone X, now uses TSMC’s 10-nanometer chip. According to sources quoted by Bloomberg on May 23, the processor used in the next iPhone to be launched later in 2018 has already started production at TSMC. The processor chip is a 7-nanometer process that is 10 nanometers longer than the current iPhone X. Smaller, faster and more efficient.
Retired in 2005, took orders from Apple after returning
Zhang Zhongmou once "retired" once in 2005.
According to Taiwan media reports, in 2005, Zhang Zhongmou sent his CEO to the current CEO of MediaTek, Cai Lixing, and he retired as chairman. During the financial crisis in 2008, TSMC led Cai Lixing to conduct performance appraisal and layoffs, which caused dissatisfaction among employees. Zhang Zhongmou also returned to TSMC in 2009 as CEO.
After the important CEO, Zhang Zhongmou doubled the capital expenditure in 2010 to 5.9 billion U.S. dollars, led Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. to spurt the industry’s cutting-edge 28-nanometer process chips, and the 28-nanometer process chip has become the mainstream of the smart phone era. In the same year, TSMC won the order of Apple, which had been exclusively owned by Samsung, and became a giant in the foundry industry. According to the “World Magazine” report in October 2017, as of 2016, TSMC’s share price increased by 237% during the seven years that Zhang Zhongmou took the helm.
In the post-Zhang Zhongmou era, TSMC needs to find new business opportunities
TSMC's market value has surpassed Intel.
The highest point of TSMC’s share price was generated on January 23, 2017, when the company’s market value reached US$229.81 billion, which exceeded Intel’s. Taiwanese media reported that over the past few years, the market value of TSMC and Intel has taken the lead. However, since June 2017, Intel has come from behind and its market value has surpassed that of TSMC. Now, the gap between Intel and TSMC seems to be getting bigger and bigger. This has also become a regret for Zhang Zhongmou before he retires.
In addition, the competition in the chip industry has become increasingly fierce, and the customer structure of TSMC has also changed. According to the Nikkei report, TSMC’s reliance on its top customer, Apple, and its customers in mainland China has gradually increased. In 2017, Apple accounted for 22% of TSMC’s operating revenue. In contrast, in 2016 and 2015, Apple accounted for only 17% and 16% of TSMC’s sales, respectively.
Apple is also seeking to manufacture its own chips, including Bluetooth chips for processor chips, fingerprint chips, and Airpods wireless headphones, to reduce dependence on suppliers. In addition, Lu Xing’s report mentioned that Samsung and Intel are strengthening their foundry business. TSMC is likely to face strong competition from these two companies. The rise of chip makers represented by SMIC (00981) as the representative of the Chinese mainland will also allow TSMC to face an outflow of talent.
The shift in the market cannot be ignored either. The industrial growth point of chip manufacturing is shifting from the PC chips, smart phone chips and other fields to the Internet of Things and self-driving cars. In the post-Zhang Zhongmou era, TSMC still needed to find new business opportunities.