TSMC cleans up

While the rest of the world is suffering from a slow down, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing reported its eighth straight quarter of profit growth.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker reported wider profit margins following a boost in demand from mobile device manufacturers.

Asia’s 10th biggest company by market value has done rather well thanks to the spread of smartphones, which its rivals – like Intel – did not really see coming.

Net profit rose 21 percent to $1.59 billion in January-March, the company said in a statement on Thursday. That compared with the $1.43 billion that the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected.

The company previously reported first-quarter revenue of $4.92 billion, 11.7 percent more than a year earlier, and 7.3 percent more than forecast in January.

TSMC had earlier forecast double-digit profit growth this year as its  20 nanometer process begins to take over from 28 nanometer. TSMC began manufacturing with 20 nanometer technology in January-March.

Chips produced in TSMC’s advanced facilities, which use the 40/45- and 28 nanometer process technology, contributed 55 percent of the company’s first-quarter revenue.

The company told shareholders that there would be further efficiency, and wider margins, with larger silicon wafers, which it will start manufacturing in the next few years. The more transistors on a chip and the more chips on a wafer, the greater the cost efficiency.

Mobile chips used in Apple products may account for 20 percent of the sales of TSMC, in the next two years, according to a Barclays PLC research note.

That would be a significant increase from the less than five percent share of the world’s largest chipmaker’s sales contributed by Apple in the first quarter of this year.

Barclays Asia-Pacific semiconductor analyst Andrew Lu said the new chips TSMC makes for Apple could include A8 and A9 application processors, as well as integrated circuits designed for fingerprint sensors and the “iWatch” vapourware.