TSMC Lowers Full-Year Semiconductor Growth Forecast, But Advanced Packaging Demand Outstrips Supply

2023-06-07 Semiconductors editor

Semiconductor manufacturing leader TSMC held its annual shareholder meeting on June 6, addressing issues including advanced process development, revenue, and capital expenditure. TSMC’s Chairman Mark Liu and President C.C. Wei answered a series of questions. The key points from the industry are summarized as follows:

2023 Capital Expenditure Leaning towards $32 Billion

For TSMC’s Q2 and full-year outlook for this year, the consolidated revenue forecast is between $15.2 and $16 billion, a decrease of 5%-10% from the first quarter. Gross profit margin is expected to range between 52%-54%, and operating profit margin between 39.5%-41.5%. Chairman Mark Liu revealed that this year’s capital expenditure is expected to lean more towards $32 billion.

TSMC’s President C.C. Wei lowered the 2023 growth forecast for the overall semiconductor market (excluding memory), expecting a mid-single digit percentage decrease. The revenue in the wafer manufacturing industry is expected to decrease by a high single digit percentage. At this stage, the overall revenue for 2023 is expected to decrease by a low-to-mid single digit percentage, sliding approximately 1%-6%.

Advanced Process N4P to be Mass Produced this Year

TSMC’s total R&D expenditure for 2022 reached $5.47 billion, which expanded its technical lead and differentiation. The 5-nanometer technology family entered its third year of mass production, contributing 26% to the revenue. The N4 process began mass production in 2022, with plans to introduce the N4P and N4X processes. The N4P process technology R&D is progressing smoothly and is expected to be mass-produced this year. The company’s first high-performance computing (HPC) technology, N4X, will finalize product design for customers this year.

Advanced Packaging Demand Far Exceeds Capacity

Due to the generative AI trend initiated by ChatGPT, the demand for advanced packaging orders for TSMC has increased, forcing an increase in advanced packaging capacity. TSMC also pointed out that the demand for TSMC’s advanced packaging capacity far exceeds the existing capacity, and it is forced to increase production as quickly as possible. Chairman Mark Liu stated that the current investment in R&D focuses on two legs, namely 3D IC (chip stacking) and advanced packaging.

At present, three-quarters of TSMC’s R&D expenditure is used for advanced processes, and one quarter for mature and special processes, with advanced packaging falling under mature and special processes.

(Photo credit: TSMC)