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TSMC faces sharper decline in demand for 7nm chips than expected.
TSMC management had to admit at a quarterly event that demand for the company's 6nm and 7nm contract manufacturing services was lower than planned three months ago. The situation will continue until the middle of the year, and in the second half of the year, demand will begin to grow. In the future, it is planned to transfer part of the special-purpose products to 7-nm technology, extending the life cycle of this technical process.
CEO of C.C. Wei confessed: “Three months ago, we assumed that the capacity utilization of N6 and N7 technologies in the first half of 2023 would not be as high as in the previous three years due to weak demand in the smartphone, PC market and a delay in the release of client products. Since then, demand in the smartphone and PC market has declined even further, and the N6 and N7 process utilization has been lower than we expected three months ago.” The head of the company added that this environment should continue throughout the first half of the year, as supply chains will need several quarters to rebalance to a healthier state. “We expect a more modest rise in demand for our N6 and N7 process technology in the second half of the year than previously planned,” the company's CEO concluded.
Speaking about the prospects for further application of the 7nm technology, CC Wei admitted that the combination of high performance and low power consumption opens up good prospects for this process technology even at long intervals. Analog components manufactured using 7nm technology will be able to combine "high functionality with low power consumption," he added. Wi-Fi controllers, for which it is important to combine advanced functionality with low power consumption, can become an example of further application of the 7nm process technology. In the future, this will extend the life cycle of 7nm technology and ensure an acceptable load on specialized production lines, even if demand for these lithographic standards temporarily decreases in the medium term.