TAIPEI: Top contract chipmaker TSMC got off to a good start in the third quarter by posting a 4.3% jump in July sales, its first annual gain in nine months, as an emerging recovery in the chip sector gathers speed.
The gain lagged smaller rival United Microelectronics Corp, which posted a 9.2% annual rise in July sales on Wednesday, amid growing demand for new PCs, mobile phones and other consumer gadgets.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) had unconsolidated sales of T$28.77bil last month, in line with market expectations.
July sales were up from T$27.57bil a year earlier and 14% higher than June's T$25.25bil, marking a fifth straight sequential rise as customers started placing new orders after running down excess stockpiles earlier this year.
On a consolidated basis, TSMC's sales totalled T$169.308bil in the January–July period, down 9.9% from the year-earlier period. TSMC, which sells more than 70% of its chips in North America, and UMC supply to fabless chip designers and some integrated device makers, including Texas Instruments Inc.
While both TSMC and UMC have said they are optimistic for the third quarter – the onset of the peak season for local tech exporters – some analysts say the cyclical upturn could be a shorter one compared with the previous booms.
Competition at advanced process technologies remains intense, especially among the top three chip foundries, Macquarie analyst Warren Lau wrote in a July report.
For the foundry market, dominated by TSMC, UMC and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd, TSMC saw a slower sales growth rate than the overall semiconductor market in 2007. – Reuters
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