Considering the weakening of terminal markets such as smartphones and personal computers (PCs), TSMC’s N7/N6 capacity utilization rate has started to fall down. It is no longer at the high point of the past three years.
Expectations are that it will start to rise by the second half of 2023. Rumors going on in the market suggest that TSMC has registered a victory on a sizeable OEM order for Qualcomm RF chips in the iPhone 15 series.
Previously, TSMC said at the law conference that because of the weakness of end markets like smartphones and personal computers, along with delays in customer product progress starting from the quarter of 2022, the N7/N6 capacity utilization will no longer be at the level of the past three years.
Speculations are that there will be no improvement in the situation
until the first half of 2023. Another reason is that the semiconductor supply
chain inventories take several quarters to rebalance to healthier levels.
TSMC mentioned that the market demand for N7/N6 is highly inclined to cyclical factors instead of structural phenomena, and the demand for N7/N6 is set to pick up in the second half of 2023.
Reports suggest that TSMC expects demand to pick up in the second half of 2023, as it has already received a large order for the RF chips in the upcoming iPhone 15 series. The iPhone 14 also includes Qualcomm RF chips via Samsung’s 14nm process.
TSMC’s large order of Qualcomm RF chips is expected to kick off production in the second quarter of 2023, and the launch is scheduled to be held in the third quarter. Assumptions are that the monthly capacity of the same will rear up to 20,000 pieces.
According to TSMC, the brand will work closely with customers to create special and differentiated technologies in the long run. The company is confident that it will bring another wave of structural demand in the next few years and backfill N7/N6 production capacity.