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TSMC Posts 9% Profit Rise Amid ‘Insatiable’ AI Chip Demand

Taiwan chip giant says it’s been lifted by huge demand for advanced chips for AI and data centres, forecasts a big lift in second-quarter sales

TSMC has said hiring for its new US plants is on track despite some criticism on a hiring website.
TSMC expects the surge in demand for AI and data centre chips to make up for a dip in demand for chips for smartphones and autos. File photo: Reuters.


The world’s largest chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), posted a 9% rise in net profit on Thursday, and has forecast a jump of up to 30% in second-quarter sales.

The tech giant, which produces about 90% of the world’s most advanced chips and is a major supplier for Apple and Nvidia, is riding a boom in demand for microprocessors used in artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

Executives have confirmed the surging need for processors for AI, which have caused its Taipei-listed shares to rise by over 30% so far this year.


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“Almost all the AI innovators are working with TSMC to address the insatiable AI-related demand for energy efficient computing power,” CEO CC Wei said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.


Very strong demand from AI servers

“AI-related data centre demand is very, very strong,” he said, adding that the shift from traditional servers to AI servers is “favourable” to TSMC.

TSMC has benefited from the AI wave that has helped it weather the tapering off of Covid-19 pandemic-led electronics demand and pushed the company’s stock to a record.

AI servers are expected to account for a low-teens percentage of its 2024 revenue, more than double from last year, with that figure rising to more than 20% of revenue by 2028, it said.

Demand for auto chips would fall this year, compared with a previous estimate of growth, it added.

Looking ahead, TSMC said it expects business in the second quarter to be supported by strong demand for its industry-leading 3 nanometre (nm) and 5nm technologies, although that strength would be partially offset by sluggish demand for smartphones.

It maintained its guidance for capital spending this year at $28 billion to $32 billion, compared with last year’s $30.45 billion, and said 70%-80% of that would go towards advanced technologies.

For 2024, the company said it expects revenue to rise in the low- to mid-20% range in US dollar terms.

“Looking at 2024, macro economy and geopolitical uncertainties persist, which could further affect consumer confidence and end-market demand,” TSMC said in a statement.

The online earnings call was briefly suspended for around 15 minutes shortly after it began due to technical issues with investors and analysts being unable to access it.


$7bn net profit in first quarter

Strong demand for advanced chips helped lift TSMC’s first-quarter net profit by 9%, which beat market expectations.

The January-March net profit rose to T$225.5 billion ($6.98 billion) from T$206.9 billion a year earlier.

The profit beat a T$218.1 billion LSEG SmartEstimate, which is weighted toward forecasts from analysts who are more consistently accurate.

TSMC, Asia’s most valuable listed company, said first-quarter revenue rose 13% year-on-year to $18.87 billion, better than the company’s previous forecast of $18 billion to $18.8 billion.

The company last week announced first quarter revenue in Taiwan dollars, coming in at T$592.64 billion.

Capital expenditure in the first quarter was $5.77 billion, TSMC said, compared with $5.24 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023.

TSMC’s Taipei-listed shares have surged 36% so far this year. The stock was flat on Thursday ahead of the results versus a 0.4% gain for the benchmark index.


Plants being built in US, Japan, Germany

The chipmaker, which is spending billions building new plants overseas including in the United States, Japan and Germany.

The group said it was “strategically important” to expand its global manufacturing footprint and was on track for production in the US state of Arizona in the first half of 2025.

The company announced last week it would expand its planned investment in chip production in Arizona by $25 billion to $65 billion and to add a third fabrication plant there by 2030.

That announcement followed a US Commerce Department statement it would award TSMC a $6.6 billion subsidy for the Arizona plant and up to $5 billion in low-cost government loans.


  • Reuters with additional input and editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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