TSMC pressured as it pursues 16-nm technology

TSMC is lagging in the race toward sub-20-nm process technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company hopes to be mass-producing 16-nm devices in the third quarter of 2015, and to that end has hundreds of engineers working a newly instituted overnight shift. 

However, competitor Samsung plans to mass-produce 14-nm devices by year end, and Intel also plans to offer 14-nm devices this quarter. And although Samsung is struggling in the mobile device market, it is seeing some success in semiconductors and recently announced a plan to invest $14.7 billion in a new chip manufacturing plant in South Korea.

“This is a war,” Morris Chang, TSMC chairman, told the Journal’s Aries Poon in an interview at TSMC's headquarters in Taipei. “I’m not leaving anything to chance.”

TSMC spends about $10 billion on facilities every year and devotes about 8% of revenue to R&D, Poon writes. The company expects to have 10-nm ARM prototypes available for the fourth quarter of next year. “The 10-nanometer [project] is a must-do for the company. It’s going to be a lot more expensive than previous generations of technology, in both research and development and capital requirement,” Chang told Poon.

You can read the Journal article here (subscription required).

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