Chinese companies aiming for a close partnership with TSMC

Xiaomi, Oppo, Bitmain Technologies, and AI processor startup Horizon Robotics are all aiming for a close partnership with TSMC to meet growing demand for process manufacturing, especially below 5nm, according to industry sources. doing.

China-based companies capable of developing advanced chips in-house will work closely with TSMC in a discreet approach. TSMC plans to shift manufacturing of the 3nm process to mass production in the latter half of 2022, and research and development of 2nm is proceeding smoothly. According to sources.

According to sources, Huawei’s HiSilicon was once one of TSMC’s main customers with the foundry’s advanced node manufacturing. US sanctions on Huawei have already blocked access to HiSilicon’s state-of-the-art chip technology.

TSMC continues to see other China-based clients accelerate the pace of orders demanding 28nm, 7nm, 6nm, and 4nm process manufacturing and gradually fill the capacity left by HiSilicon. ..

TSMC’s revenue generated from orders from China-based customers increased to 11% of total wafer revenue in the first quarter of 2022, up from just 6% in the previous year. In the same period of 2020, when HiSilicon was still a major foundry customer, this percentage was 22%.

For TSMC, expanding its China-based customer portfolio is a way to protect its foundry market advantage, sources believe. Obtaining orders for major sub 5nm chips from China will also help expand the foundry’s customer base in advanced process segments.

In addition to being a long-time partner of Goodix Technology and OmniVision, TSMC is contracted by Unisoc to manufacture 6nm and 12nm mobile SoCs. Foundries have also landed orders for 5nm and 7nm chips for 5G base stations from ZTE, sources said.

Horizon Robotics, which develops AI chips for smart vehicles, is working with TSMC to create 16nm and 28nm automotive-grade solutions, sources say. The pair is expected to expand collaboration with TSMC’s 7nm process technology to manufacture the Journey 6 series chips from Horizontal Robotics in 2023.

Alibaba’s semiconductor subsidiaries Pingtouge and Cambricon Technologies are also China-based AI startups affiliated with TSMC, sources said. Pingtouge has ordered 5nm, 7nm, and 28nm chips from TSMC. It also manufactures 7nm solutions from Cambricon.

Cryptographic ASIC specialist Bitmain is already a TSMC customer who demands 7nm and 5nm process manufacturing, sources added.

Oppo’s Mari Silicon X Imaging NPU is manufactured using TSMC’s 6nm process, with cumulative chip orders exceeding 10 million units, sources say.

In addition, sources believe that Xiaomi, which is enthusiastic about developing chips in-house, is another potential China-based customer who demands advanced process manufacturing of TSMC.

According to sources, TSMC expects China’s 2022 revenue to approach 2020 levels, with revenues expected to continue to grow in 2023, exceeding NT $ 250 billion (US $ 8.5 billion) annually. It has been. Chinese companies aiming for a close partnership with TSMC

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