SAN JOSE, Calif.--During the TSMC 2011 Technology Symposium here Tuesday (April 5), Morris Chang, chairman and chief executive of the silicon foundry giant, gave a keynote and discussed several subjects.
Here are seven major points that Chang made during the keynote:
1. Japan impact
The recent quake in Japan will have "no noticeable impact after a lot of work" for TSMC. However, Chang said the quake did impact customers' supply lines and customers' customers' supply lines.
As a result, there will be "some effect in the second quarter, perhaps in the third quarter." The impact will last "primarily one quarter" but no more than "two quarters," Chang said.
2. Semi forecast
The March 11 earthquake in Japan, coupled with other factors, will impact the overall IC business. The IC market, excluding memory, is expected to grow "4 percent" in 2011, down from TSMC's original forecast of "7 percent" just three or four months ago.
The market has seen a "slight softening of the world economy," some inflation and "a few problems in Europe."
Also Tuesday, market research firm IHS iSuppli predicted that supply problems in the wake of the Japan earthquake would actually result in higher chip average selling prices and larger overall growth for the semiconductor industry.
The PC and cell phones have been the big drivers for the IC industry. "Now we see a third 'killer app.' It's mobile products. It's smart phones and tablets," Chang said.
4. 28-nm update
TSMC has had 75 tape outs on its 28-nm technology, according to Chang, more than its 40-nm process technology had at a comparable stage.
Regarding TSMC's long-awaited, high-k/metal-gate scheme at 28-nm, the technology is "qualified" and "production ready," Chang said.
5. 3-D chips
TSMC has poured "significant R&D" in 3-D chips using through-silicon vias (TSVs). The company sees it as a paradigm shift called "systems-level scaling," Chang said.
"There are still a lot of challenges for 450-mm," Chang said. Still, TSMC reiterated its position that it would build a 450-mm pilot line in the 2013-2014 time frame, with production due in 2015-2016. The intercept point is "20-nm," Chang said.
7. The competition
Without naming names, Chang said TSMC says is still the leader in process technology among foundries. "Some our competitors have spent a lot of money but they do not have the technology," Chang said.