Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) might not be as famous as big tech brands like Samsung or Apple, but the company holds an absolute market dominating position in the wafer foundry market globally. In the first half of 2019, TSMC ranked first among global semiconductor foundries, with a global revenue of over 14.5 billion U.S. dollars, followed by Samsung Electronics with about a third of TSMC’s revenue. In terms of market share, TSMC held an overwhelming 54 percent while the second placeholder Samsung held only approximately 17 percent, despite Samsung’s desperate effort to overtake TSMC in the last few years.
In 2019, TSMC has exported over eight million units of twelve-inch equivalent wafers, while domestic sales in Taiwan amounted to around 1.6 million. With the United States’ status as a tech giant, most of the wafers exported from TSMC went to North America, accounting for 60 percent of the net profit of TSMC in 2019. Wafers used for smartphones contributed around half of the net profit for TSMC, followed by wafers for High Performance Computing (HPC) such as laptops, tablets, and game consoles. From 2018 to 2019, wafers of more than 16 nanometers were selling slightly more than those less or equal to 16 nanometers, where the sales of the latter were forecasted to surpass former in 2020.
TSMC owns about nine wafer manufacturing factories worldwide, most of which are located in Taiwan as well as its headquarters. With the increasing popularity of Internet-of-Things and 5G technology, the demand for wafers will only be driven higher in the future. The wafer manufacturing capacity of TSMC has been growing by a few percent every year to meet this increasing demand.