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TSMC puts customers on allocation

Posted: 15 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Peter Clarke? TSMC? Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd?

Foundry chip supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg Co. Ltd (TSMC) has begun putting customers on allocation as it is unable to meet demand for certain manufacturing processes. However, a company executive said TSMC would be able to manage the situation.

Kees den Otter, president of TSMC Europe, said that an unexpected jump in volume of mobile phones predicted to ship this year was responsible for the move to allocation but that the pressure has fallen not at the leading edge but at the 0.18?m manufacturing node. He added that an analysis of orders taken in aggregate made it clear that double ordering has also started to take place.

"There is a delta between demand and supply. In the sense that there is a delta then allocation has begun," den Otter told EE Times in an interview at the International Semiconductor Executives Forum. "There is a problem in capacity but it's not at the leading edge. In our Q1 results 49 percent of output was on 0.13?m or 90nm and 90nm was 20 percent. We've managed that part pretty well. The problem is in the more mature technologies such as 0.18?m and 0.25?m which are favored for mixed-signal and RF," he said.

Den Otter did not indicate what percentage allocation TSMC has implemented. He said that TSMC would not simply favor its larger customers at the expense of its smaller ones. Instead it would look back at its customers' forecast accuracy as a basis to judge which customers could best afford to forego silicon.

The TSMC executive said estimates for phone shipments in 2006 went up to 950 million units, 200 million units more than what was being offered a few months ago. "The digital baseband chips on 90nm are not a problem. It's the image sensors, the power management chips and analog baseband chips. There's about four of these chips per phone and 200 million times 4 is a lot of silicon. We're now trying to satisfy 50 percent more demand than we saw 9 months ago. There is at least some double ordering starting to appear," said den Otter.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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