TSMC Reveals ~36% Revenue Growth As China’s ZTE Reportedly Using 7nm For 5G

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The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reported its revenue for the month of January which marks a strong start to the year that analysts predict might feature a semiconductor inventory correction. Alongside, a fresh report from the Japanese publication Nikkei claims that Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corporation, previously sanctioned by the United States government for conducting business with Iran, is quietly designing its products on one of TSMC's most advanced chipmaking processes. The latter bit of news comes after the U.S. sanctioned Chinese consumer electronics and technology giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from using similar technologies due to the company's close ties with the Chinese military.

TSMC Reports NT$ 172 Billion In Revenue For January, As ZTE Uses TSMC Technology For 5G Base Stations

The revenue data from TSMC shows that for the first month of this year, the company posted its strongest revenue both in terms of dollar amounts and growth rates. It shows that the Taiwanese fab, which is the world's largest contract chip manufacturer, had earned a whopping NT$172 billion during January, to mark for a strong 35.8% growth.

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TSMC counts some of the world's largest technology firms in its list of customers. These include the Cupertino, California technology giant Apple Inc, San Diego chip designers Qualcomm Incorporated and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc and Santa Clara graphics processing unit developer NVIDIA Corporation. Over the years TSMC's advances in semiconductor manufacturing processes, referred to as 'nodes' in the industry have made it the backbone of advances in the market.

The revenue for January 2022 is a big jump over figures that TSMC has posted for the past couple of years. For instance, January 2021, which was the first starting month of the fiscal year for the company following the large scale disruptions ushered in by the ongoing pandemic saw TSMC bring in NT$126 billion in revenue alongside an annual growth rate of 22.2%.

This growth comes as the company continues to reap the benefits of capacity expansion and higher prices, with the latter following chip shortages in the industry following the pandemic-induced demand uptick.

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC)'s annual revenue growths for the months of January. Data compiled by Wccftech.

With TSMC's business booming, Nikkei believes that Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE is quietly building a technological edge in the base station market for fifth-generation (5G) cellular connectivity. These stations are used by telecommunications carriers to meet consumer demands, and the publication believes that ZTE has designed its equipment to be based on the 7-nanometer (nm) process node.

According to The Nikkei:

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The company [ZTE] has been utilizing some of TSMC's most advanced chip production technology -- the so-called 7-nm tech -- to build processors for its 5G base stations. Sources said it also uses the Taiwanese chipmaker's advanced chip packaging technology, which uses stacking technology to arrange chips with different functions into one package.

It also outlines that Huawei's inability to conduct business with TSMC due to American sanctions has left the field wide open for ZTE. The company is targeting double-digit growth for its server and base station segment, and it is also interested in TSMC's leading-edge chip node, which is the company's 5nm process.

However, while ZTE might not be sanctioned to procure the latest chip technologies from TSMC, the company still can not sell its 5G base stations to several Western companies. This has resulted in it focusing its efforts mostly on China, as the U.S. will rely on small cell 5G Open RAN platform developed by Qualcomm Incorporated on the 4nm node.

TSMC also sells products built on the 4nm, which is a design extension of the company's 5nm process families. Different process technologies marketed under the 4nm branding are expected to commence production from the second half of this year to the first half of 2023.

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