The A17 chip on the iPhone 15 series that Apple will release in 2023 will use TSMC’s N3E process, and in 2020, TSMC’s 5nm foundry price will be $16,000.
“Kechuang Board Daily” News on November 22 (Editor Qiu Siyu) According to Taiwan Electronic Times, TSMC’s 5/4nm foundry price is high, and the 3nm foundry price has exceeded 20,000 US dollars, and the downstream cost has risen sharply.
One of the reasons for the high foundry price of TSMC’s advanced process is the low yield rate of its competitor Samsung Electronics’ 5/4nm and 3nm GAA processes. According to Naver reports, since the mass production of Samsung’s 3nm process, the yield rate has not exceeded 20%, and the mass production progress has fallen into a bottleneck. Therefore, the stability of the cooperative relationship with TSMC is the key point considered by most chip manufacturers.
At present, manufacturers such as Qualcomm, MediaTek and Nvidia have booked TSMC’s production capacity in 2023 and 2024. With the advancement of process technology generation by generation, the foundry price has also continued to hit new highs.
According to Taiwan Electronics Times, since TSMC released 90nm chips in 2004, the price of wafers at that time was nearly 2,000 US dollars. After the process technology has evolved to 10nm in 2016, the quotation has increased significantly to US$6,000. After entering the 7nm and 5nm process generations, the quotation has exceeded 10,000, and 5nm is as high as 16,000 US dollars, and this statistical price has not yet been included in TSMC’s 6% increase in 2023.
TSMC has also made a lot of money because of this. According to the latest report from market research firm Strategy Analytics, TSMC’s foundry revenue in the third quarter of 2022 will exceed 20 billion US dollars, exceeding the sum of all other manufacturers (including Samsung). In addition, Buffett also built a position in TSMC in the third quarter, with a market value of US$4.1 billion.
People in the semiconductor industry generally predict that due to the high quotations of advanced manufacturing processes and the high cost of chip manufacturers, the cost pressure will inevitably be passed on to downstream customers or end consumers.
As TSMC’s largest customer, Apple bears the brunt of the impact. The A17 chip on the iPhone 15 series, which will be released in 2023, will use TSMC’s N3E process. The industry expects that due to the high foundry price of TSMC, the iPhone 15 series is bound to increase, and the increase may be too large.
However, TSMC’s dominance will not last long. Samsung Electronics recently announced that it will expand its cooperation with the US company Silicon Frontline Technology to improve the yield rate of semiconductor chips in the production process. Qualcomm Marketing Chief Don McGuire also revealed recently that although 3nm and 4nm AP chips will be manufactured by TSMC in the future, after entering the GAA process, it is possible to adopt the dual-supplier strategy of simultaneously placing orders for Samsung and TSMC.