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  1. TSMC
  2. TSMC Company Wiki

In 1985 Morris Chang was recruited by the Taiwanese government to help develop the emerging semiconductor industry. In 1986 Morris joined the Hsinchu based non profit research institute ITRI as Chairman and President and launched what would be TSMC's first semiconductor wafer fabrication plant on the ITRI campus. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. was officially formed in 1987 as a joint venture between the Taiwan government (21%), Dutch multinational electronics giant Philips (28%), and other private investors.

Without a doubt, TSMC created what is today’s semiconductor foundry business model. While at TI, Morris Chang pioneered the then controversial idea of pricing semiconductors ahead on the cost curve, sacrificing early profits to gain market share to achieve manufacturing yields that would result in greater long-term profits. This pricing model is still the foundation of the fabless semiconductor business model.

Even starting 2 process nodes behind competing semiconductor manufacturers (IDMs), TSMC was able to attract customers. 4-5 years later TSMC was only behind 1 process node and the orders started pouring in. In 10 years TSMC caught up with IDMs and the fabless semiconductor industry blossomed enabling a whole new era of semiconductor design and manufacturing. Today TSMC is the undisputed leader with a reported 59% share of the $30B foundry market. GLOBALFOUNDRIES is second with just over a 11% share, UMC is third with 9%, and SMIC is fourth with 6%.

As the story goes, Morris Chang made the first TSMC sales calls in 1987 with a single brochure:

TSMC Core Values: Integrity, commitment, innovation, partnership.

It is interesting to compare the consistency of this statement with the 1997 TSMC mission statement:

We are building the world's Virtual Fab! We provide the best quality technology, the greatest capacity and the highest standard of service. We are the most reliable choice as a partner in semiconductor manufacturing.

And again with the vision/mission statement on the TSMC website today:

Our vision is to be the most advanced and largest technology and foundry services provider to fabless companies and IDMs, and in partnership with them, to forge a powerful competitive force in the semiconductor industry.

To realize our vision, we must have the following strengths:

1. be a technology leader, competitive with the leading IDMs
2. be the manufacturing leader
3. be the most reputable, service-oriented and maximum-total-benefits silicon foundry


Our mission is to be the trusted technology and capacity provider of the global logic IC industry for years to come.

Also according to the current TSMC website:

Established in 1987, TSMC is the world's first dedicated semiconductor foundry. As the founder and a leader of the Dedicated IC Foundry segment, TSMC has built its reputation by offering advanced and "More-than-Moore" wafer production processes and unparalleled manufacturing efficiency. From its inception, TSMC has consistently offered the foundry segment's leading technologies and TSMC COMPATIBLE® design services.

TSMC has consistently experienced strong growth by building solid partnerships with its customers, large and small. IC suppliers from around the world trust TSMC with their manufacturing needs, thanks to its unique integration of cutting-edge process technologies, pioneering design services, manufacturing productivity and product quality.

The company's total managed capacity reached above 9 million 12-inch equivalent wafers in 2015. TSMC operates three advanced 12-inch wafer fabs, four eight-inch wafer fabs, one six-inch wafer fab (fab 2) and two backend fabs (advanced backend fab 1 and 2). TSMC also manages two eight-inch fabs at wholly owned subsidiaries: WaferTech in the United States and TSMC China Company Limited. TSMC also obtains eight-inch wafer capacity from other companies in which the Company has an equity interest.

TSMC is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) under ticker number 2330, and its American Depositary Shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol "TSM".

While the original intention of TSMC was to aid the Taiwanese semiconductor design houses, Dr. Morris Chang clearly had much larger aspirations which transformed the global semiconductor industry into what is today a $300B+ business that is mission critical to modern life.

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