Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has advised clients of price rises of 10 to 20 percent at nodes below 16nm, according to reports in Japan and Taiwan.
Given that TSMC is now the main supplier of key chips for such companies as Apple, AMD and Nvidia and for many others, this is likely to prompt a spike in the prices of electronics products across the board and around the world.
Although it has been reported that TSMC would prioritize Apple and the automotive industry to try and alleviate shortages in supply it would appear that TSMC is also keen to ramp its revenue while it can. The highest price hikes are expected to be down at the leading-edge processes of 7nm. Apple is expected to pass that increased cost onto consumers for its next mobile phone, the iPhone 13. This phone is expected to be launched on September 24.
TSMC reportedly told customers the price increases would come into effect in 2022 but with some chips delivered in December also impacted. However, rather than launch at one price and then have to increase the price within weeks Apple is apparently trying to factor in the increased chip pricing from launch.
Similarly, the prices of notebook computer are expected to rise in the 2H21.
In the early years of the foundry/fabless business it was possible to quite simply send a GDS11 tape to an alternative foundry and seek to get the best deal on pricing. However, at leading-edge manufacturing customers are effectively locked-in to their foundry supplier. Even if they were to move a subsequent generation of design over to a rival foundry there would numerous additional costs around the repeat testing and characterizing of IP blocks.
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