Senior TSMC execs to meet with Alibaba and Biren · TechNode

Senior executives from TSMC will gather in Shanghai this week for the company’s annual tech forum TSMC Technology Symposium on June 21, where the chip giant will share details of its forthcoming products and technologies, according to media outlet icsmart. The visiting group includes TSMC CEO C.C. Wei, vice president of business development Kevin Zhang, and deputy general manager of technology research Cliff Hou. As part of their trip, the trio plans to visit Chinese chip design companies such as Alibaba and Biren Technology, the report said.

Why it matters: This will be the first time that TSMC executives have been able to visit the company’s customers in mainland China in person since 2020. The company’s mainland China events were all held online during the last three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Details: A number of significant customers for the chip maker are set to attend the TSMC Technology Symposium in Shanghai, which comes one month after similar events in Taiwan and Europe and a week before another symposium in Japan.

  • TSMC representatives will visit Alibaba and Biren. Alibaba has a chip unit called T-Head, which specializes in designing chips for cloud computing and various other applications.  Biren is a fabless semiconductor design company founded in 2019 by Lingjie Xu and other former NVIDIA and Alibaba employees.
  • Currently, the Chinese mainland market accounts for 10% to 15% of TSMC’s overall revenue, only second to its North American business, according to the firm’s first-quarter financial report.
  • In 2016, TSMC established a factory in Nanjing, the capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu province. The facility manages a 12-inch wafer fab and a design service center. The firm also operates a factory in Shanghai, which was established in 2002 and includes an 8-inch wafer fab.
  • On Wednesday, in addition to providing a showcase of TSMC’s advanced chip process technology, the forum is expected to focus on how to reduce cost and increase efficiency, with prices for everything from building factories to purchasing equipment and even neon gas rising due to global inflation, according to media outlet Vocus.
  • On April 26, TSMC held its 2023 North America Technology Symposium, introducing its latest technology developments including progress on 2nm technology and new products in its industry-leading 3nm technology range.

Context: Last October, TSMC secured a one-year license to continue ordering US chipmaking equipment for its expansion in China, allowing it to avoid the US’s export controls to China. Recently, senior officials from the US have reportedly indicated that the government may extend the one-year exemption for TSMC, which may enable the company to pursue its expansion plan in China.

  • TSMC started pre-production operations on its 2nm process in June, and the company plans to start mass production of the advanced 2nm chip in 2025.
  • TSMC claims that compared to the 3nm chip technology (N3 series), the speed of its 2nm chips will increase by 15% using the same power consumption and that power consumption will be reduced by 30% when used at the same speed.
  • At a shareholders’ meeting in June, President of TSMC Mark Liu said that TSMC holds a key role in calming geopolitical tensions between China and the US.

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Jessie Wu is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. She covers consumer electronics, semiconductor, and the gaming industry for TechNode. Connect with her via e-mail: [email protected].
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