[News] TSMC Reportedly Doubles CoWoS Capacity while Amkor, ASE also Enter Advanced Packaging for AI

2024-02-19 Semiconductors editor

The surge in demand for advanced packaging is being primarily propelled by artificial intelligence (AI) chips. According to industry sources cited by CNA, TSMC’s CoWoS production capacity is set to double this year, yet demand continues to outstrip supply. In response, NVIDIA has enlisted the help of packaging and testing facilities to augment its advanced packaging capabilities.

In addition, to address the imbalance between supply and demand for advanced packaging due to AI, semiconductor backend specialty assembly and testing (OSAT) companies such as ASE Technology Holding (ASE), Powertech Technology, and KYEC have expanded their capital expenditures this year to enhance their advanced packaging capabilities, aligning with the needs of their customers.

AI and high-performance computing (HPC) chips are driving the demand for CoWoS advanced packaging. As per sources interviewed by CNA, from July to the end of last year, TSMC actively adjusted its CoWoS advanced packaging production capacity, gradually expanding and stabilizing mass production.

The source further indicates that in December of last year, TSMC’s CoWoS monthly production capacity increased to 14,000 to 15,000. It is estimated that by the fourth quarter of this year, TSMC’s CoWoS monthly production capacity will significantly expand to 33,000 to 35,000.

Per an earlier report from Commercial Times, TSMC has been outsourcing part of its CoWoS operations for some time, mainly targeting small-volume, high-performance chips. TSMC maintains in-house production of the CoW, while the back-end WoS is handed over to test and assembly houses to improve production efficiency and flexibility. 

However, the demand for advanced packaging capacity for AI chips still outstrips supply. Sources cited by CNA also reveal that NVIDIA has sought assistance from packaging and testing subcontractors outside of TSMC to augment their advanced packaging capabilities.

Amkor, among others, began gradually providing capacity support from the fourth quarter of last year, while SPIL, a subsidiary of ASE, is slated to commence supply in the first quarter of this year.

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(Photo credit: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from CNA and Commercial Times.