TSMC To Spend $1.8bn On R&D

TSMC is to spend $1.8 billion on R&D this year. Last year it spent $1.6 billion.

TSMC was the sixth largest spender on R&D last year behind Intel, which spent $10.6 billion, Qualcomm which spent $3.4 billion, Samsung which spent $2.8 billion, Broadcom which spent $2.5 billion and ST which spent $1.8 billion.

TSMC’s $1.8 billion will mostly be spent developing 28nm, 20nm and 16nm processes.

TSMC now has 4,500 professionals working in R&D.

In addition, TSMC’s 2014 capex spend will be $9.5 billion to $10 billion.

28nm is expected to a account for 30% of TSMC’s revenues this year. Last year’s total revenues were $20 billion and 28nm revenues were $6 billion, up from $2.1 billion in 2012 and $150 million in 2011.

TSMC expects the foundry industry to grow 14% this year and reckons its own growth will exceed that by ‘several percentage points’.





  1. There’s an echo in here.

  2. You’re absolutely right Mike it should be nothing to do with academics but can you imagine if the Min of Ed decided that the fees for courses in some disciplines should be free, in other disciplines £x and in others £XX. The Professors of discipline £XX would be raving away about how BAs in basket-weaving are essential for the nation’s survival, blah-di-blah-di-blah and one hell of a stink created. And pols don’t like creating a hell of a stink.

  3. It was a darn good point Stooriefit and entirely our fault for it going up three times. I have trimmed appropriately. Once again my apologies for this.

  4. It should be nothing to do with academics ! They’re there to do the job, not argue it’s worth.

    Should be solved by market demand. Look at the number of vacant jobs and work from there. Medicine and Engineering are the only ones I know with demand outstripping supply.

  5. It was a fair point, but not worth making three times. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

  6. Funnily enough Stoorieft I’d just replied to that latest post of yours when a new version went up. Our IT people are working on the Comments section as we speak and maybe the first time you posted it wasn’t visible to you, though it was to me.

  7. Yes the debt problem seems crazy Stooriefit, depriving the country of the very people we need. This is exactly where the politicians should be acting to steer the brightest and best into engineering.

  8. I’ve been on panels reviewing some UK Centres for Innovative Manufacturing recently and I have to say the work they’re doing is first class.

    Questioning the associated PhD and EngD students shows there has been a sea change in expectations in the last five years – probably 9 out of 10 said they wanted to go into industry rather than, or in preparation for, an academic job. This is a total reversal from a decade ago.

    With the new doctoral training centres the EPSRC were very concerned that the centres could demonstrate that there was “absorptive capacity” so they are working hard to line up industrial partners to take their PhDs on, and that means the training is becoming more suited to what industry needs.

    There are two things which are a crying shame however – first that the bid process for the doctoral training centres inadvertently knocked out a lot of the EngD centres, which are by far the better doctoral graduates in my opinion, and second there is a real risk that, even though there are lots of funded PhD places available for UK and EU students, a lot of great applicants are now carrying so much debt that they want to get straight into a job before they have the training to be really innovative.

  9. Agreed, but I think all these things are pretty hard to get through, Mike. Can you imagine all the academics arguing about the relative values of different disciplines? It would be The Tower of Babel Part 2.

  10. We had no poaching agreements in Europe since the 60s or possibly earlier yet engineering was held in regard back then.

    Starting pay for graduates is also well above what I started on allowing for inflation, plus it’s far easier to get funding for a Ph.D than it was back then.

    Yet the quantity and quality output from our universities is pathetic.

    What we have to do first is abolish course fees for real engineering and double them for arts and airy-fairy courses that don’t lead to an obvious job, Also re-introduce grants for engineering and probably medicine only. That way engineers would start work debt free and so would be far higher up the housing ladder.

    The other thing is we need a hard look at the quality of university lecturers. Most I talk to too are at least pretty good, and of course people like Asen are world class, but quite a large percentage need to be replaced.

  11. Ah well education is a different thing to R&D, Mike, that’s an educational problem and that involves persuading university graduates that an engineering PhD is useful. Not many people in the West think it is. And that’s because employers in the West treat their engineers like shit. For one thing just look at this ‘no poaching’ case in the USA.

  12. Agreed but on that score the EU can claim success as well as it supports long term R&D. But it and all European countries apart from the Baltic states have failed miserably at developing university engineering Ph.Ds on a par with Taiwan or even the US.

  13. Yes Mike I think ITRI and ERSO have been models of how governments should help technology companies – patiently developing the underlying technology year after year and putting it into new companies and existing companies.

  14. I don’t think there’s any direct financial support but what ITRI do is ensure that the Taiwanese university system produces a steady stream of Ph.Ds all wanting to work at TSMC in R&D and manufacturing.

    That’s how governments SHOULD intervene, i.e. in the long term, but instead they look for short cuts to success before the next election. Democracy does have its drawbacks.

  15. For the last seven years they’ve paid about 10 cents a share divi, SilverMan. The shares are now around $4. I doubt if the Taiwan government subsidises TSMC R&D, but it might.

  16. Do those chaps pay a dividend?
    Or is the R&D money partly goosed from the taxpayers?
    HP investors would never stand for it.

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