TSMC, UMC sales remain unsteady

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) saw sales edge up 1% in July over the June, though they were still down 43% from July last year. United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) meanwhile saw a 5% month on month drop, with sales off 59% from a year ago. TSMC?s July sales remain at 47% of December 2000 peak levels, while UMC?s are only 36% of its November 2000 peak, as performance at the two leading foundries continues to diverge.

TSMC has big customers in the PC business like Via Technologies and Nvidia, both moving towards high end processes, which contributes to maintaining ASP, and has more customers (about 300).

UMC, on the other hand, has seen declining volume and ASPs from big customers using high end processes like Xilinx and SanDisk. While TSMC?s ASPs increased slightly in Q2, compared to Q1, UMC?s fell 19%. UMC?s group includes Taiwan IC design shops doing relatively well, like optical disk drive chip set maker Mediatek, LCD driver maker Novatek Microelectronics, and network equipment chip maker Realtek, and orders from these companies are maintaining basic operating levels of 30%, while orders from big overseas customers have dived, as U.S. telecommunication chip inventories remain to be worked off.

-Yasuo Nakane, Daiwa Securities senior analyst for Nekkei Microdevices


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