Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. on Tuesday said it is already sold out of its worldwide wafer foundry capacity for both 2000 and 2001, with demand remaining robust at least until 2003.
"Demand is outstripping supply in the foundry business," said Edward Ross, president of TSMC Ltd.'s U.S. subsidiary, TSMC North America, at a panel discussion at the Taiwan Semiconductor Day conference in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference is a one-day event sponsored by the Taiwan government and CMP Media, the parent company of SBN.
"In the short term, I don't see anything on the horizon that will slow the foundry business down," said Ross, who is based in San Jose, Calif.
In fact, business is so good that TSMC (stock: TSM) is fully booked at least until the end of 2001, Ross said.
"The demand for 2001 is greater than our capacity," he said. "We've allocated our capacity for 2000. In 2001, our capacity has been allocated. In 2001, we're already sold out."
The company's disclosure comes as no surprise to industry
observers and analysts. With the general trend toward
outsourcing in the semiconductor industry, foundry vendors have
been scrambling to meet huge OEM demand since the beginning
of last year.
Other pure-play foundry vendors, including Singapore's Chartered
Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte. Ltd. (stock: CHRT) and Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corp., are also reporting robust demand for their respective services.
Foundry companies, in fact, are riding a huge wave. In total, the worldwide demand for 8-inch wafers is expected to jump, from 10.267 million units in 2000 to 12.3 million units in 2001, according to estimates from Dataquest Inc., San Jose.
"The foundry business is one of the fastest growing industries in the electronics market," Ross said in a presentation about
Taiwan's foundry industry at the conference. "At this point, we don't see a change in terms of supply and demand. People are saying that that we could see a capacity shortage for the next three years."
To meet demand, TSMC is ramping up its fab capacity at a frenetic pace. The company will boost its total production of 8-inch wafers, from 3.4 million units in 2000 to 4.7 million units in 2001.
By 2001, in fact, TSMC said it will be the world's largest IC
company in terms of total wafer capacity, surpassing the likes of Hyundai Electronics Co. Ltd., Hitachi Ltd. (stock: HIT), Intel Corp. (stock: INTC), Toshiba Corp., NEC Corp. (stock: NIPNY), STMicroelectronics NV (stock: STM), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and others.