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TSMC Sees AI, Augmented/Virtual Reality as Important Market Drivers for Mobile Devices over the Next Few Years

1 AX augmented-reality


Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is seeing robust growth in demand from the mobile computing, automotive electronics, IoT and high-performance computing sectors, and is striving to maintain its technology leadership in the foundry segment, according to company co-CEO Mark Liu.


Mobile computing will remain an important driver of the semiconductor market growth over the next few years, said Liu. New and innovative features for smartphones and other mobile devices including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), context-aware computation, and artificial intelligence (AI) and deep machine learning require support of more powerful computing technology, Liu indicated.


Considering that Apple is TSMC's largest customer, TSMC's enthusiasm for mobile computing to incorporate "new and innovative features" is definitely a nice hint of what's to come to Apple's iDevices.


In 2017 alone, TSMC plans to allocate about US$10 billion in capex as the company continues to make technology breakthroughs and extend Moore's Law, according to Liu.


TSMC is moving its 10nm process technology to volume production, said Liu, adding that a group of 3,000 R&D staff is being involved in the technology development. TSMC's 10nm process is ready for mass production in the second half of 2017.


TSMC is set to move its newer 7nm FinFET technology to volume production in 2018, Liu indicated. The company also plans its second-generation 7nm process dubbed 7nm Plus that will adopt extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology for higher performance and lower costs.


TSMC has started R&D of its 5nm process technology, with risk production scheduled to kick off in the first quarter of 2019, Liu said. TSMC has also assigned hundreds of engineers to commerce its 3nm development project, Liu indicated.


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