TSMC to spend, spend spend

TSMC fab in Hsinchu - Wikimedia CommonsThe world’s biggest independent semiconductor foundry is to spend $2.2 billion on R&D this year in a bid to maintain its lead ahead of the competition.

It will also spend over $10 billion in 2015 on capital expenditure. Every time a semiconductor manufacturer produces a new process, it involves buying expensive equipment from specialist suppliers in order to build the chips.

TSMC – the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co – makes micoprocessors for a number of so called “fabless” designers of semiconductors including Apple and Nvidia.

Yesterday it said that it spent $1.9 billion on R&D last year, and now has a staff of 4,600 engineers. It also produced 8.26 million 12 inch silicon wafers, according to a report in the Taipei Times.

The company is set to mass produce 16 nanometre semiconductors this year while it is also producing a 16 nanometre specialist chip next year that is 50 percent more power efficient.

It also promised to produce 10 nanometre semiconductors in the second half of 2016.

Every time a semiconductor manufacturer reduces the line width of semiconductors, it means that more dies can be produced on a single silicon wafer, allowing for efficiencies of scale.