Samsung Electronics is set to increase its investments in order to increase its semiconductor capacity, rivals like TSMC and Intel are also raising the ante by following suit. IC Insights estimates that the capacity investment for Samsung in the second half of 2016 was about US$7,561 million, up 120 percent from the first half's $3,439 million.
Meanwhile, TSMC is reported to spend $6,574 million during the same period, 92 percent higher than the first half. Intel will likely increase its capital expenditure budget for the second half to $5,854 million, up 61 percent from the previous half. The three companies, Samsung, TSMC, and Intel are ranked No. 1 to 3 in terms of integrated device manufacturers (IDM) ranking.
Even though Intel leads in terms of overall sales revenue due to its market leadership in microprocessors, Samsung is way ahead in the memory chip game. The sales of Intel were $51.4 billion won last year while those for Samsung were $40.1 billion. TSMC, the world's largest semiconductor foundry, ranked third in terms of sales revenue after Intel and Samsung.
Meanwhile, MediaTek's Helio X30 SoC designed for mid-range and high-end smartphones will be ready for volume production in the first quarter of 2017.
According to sources from Taiwan, the chips will be built by TSMC using the foundry's 10nm process technology.
TSMC is also working with Apple on 10nm chip designs that will go into production later in 2017. TSMC will also offer its backend integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging (WLP) technology for Apple's 10nm A11 chips.
Qualcomm is expected to continue to cooperate with Samsung Electronics to produce its next-generation Snapdragon 830 chips utilizing 10nm technology. TSMC lost orders for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 series to Samsung.
Last month, TSMC indicated that its 10nm process will start generating revenues in the first quarter of 2017. The node has received product tape-outs from three clients, and more tape-outs are expected to come later in 2016, the foundry said.