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TSMC: A fab success

July 27, 2013 at 5:32 am | News Desk

Still going strong

WHEN he founded Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in 1987, Morris Chang recalls, “Nobody thought we were going anywhere.” Back then the rule was that semiconductor companies both designed and made chips. TSMC was the first pure “foundry”, making chips for designers with no factories, or “fabs”, of their own. The doubts of others suited TSMC nicely. Mr Chang, at 82 still chairman and in his second stint as chief executive, says that meant it suffered no competition in its first eight years.These days the idea is more popular. Last year foundries made about half of all logic chips (the ones that carry out computations, as opposed to memory chips, a more commoditised market). United Microelectronics Corporation, a slightly older Taiwanese company, turned itself into a pure-play foundry in 1995. GlobalFoundries, with factories in America, Germany and Singapore, was set up in 2009.Yet the pioneer still dominates. This year, predicts Samuel Wang of Gartner, a research firm, TSMC’s revenues will exceed those of all other foundries combined. He reckons it has 90% of the world market for advanced 28-…

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