TSMC, being the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer now equipping A12 chips for Apple

As Apple has reduced its dependence on Samsung’s semiconductor foundry services, TSMC has been manufacturing chips on Apple’s blueprint.

It plans to start production of the 7nm chip in the first quarter of 2018. In contrast, Samsung says it will launch a 7nm chip by the end of 2018.

TSMC has about 470 customers worldwide

They also announced last Friday that they are planning to invest $15.7 billion in a production facility at Tainan Science Park in southern Taiwan, dedicated to the manufacture of 3nm chips.

The expensive facility will cover 50-80 hectares, and the company plans to start production in the region as early as 2022. In context, one hectare of land is roughly equivalent to a football field.

The announcement reiterates TSMC’s claims from the end of last year that it will devote significant resources to the development of 3-nanometre process technology and research into ultra-thin 2-nanometer technology.

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The smaller the nanometer size, the more advanced the chip is, but the more difficult it is to develop and manufacture. Currently, TSMC produces A10 and A11 processors designed by Apple on its respective 16nm and 10nm FinFET nodes.

Since 2015, the iPhone manufacturer has become TSMC’s largest customer, accounting for 17% of TSMC’s total annual revenue in 2016. Apple’s contribution to the chip giant’s profits will be more than 20 percent for the full year 2017, according to Hong Kong research firm Sanford C. Amber