Manufacturing News

Taiwan Semi’s Chang ‘More Optimistic’ on Chip Market

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Chairman Morris Chang said recent discussions with clients has made him “very optimistic” about the global chip market this year as the company plans to recruit and spend more.

“Direct contact with customers and looking at the market situation,” spurred the increased expectations, Chang said in an interview today in Taipei without providing further details. “I’m even more optimistic now” than back in October, he said.

Chang, 78, said Oct. 29 he expects the global chip industry to climb 10 percent this year from last year and to recover to 2008 levels between 2010 and 2011. Taiwan Semiconductor, the world’s largest custom chipmaker whose clients include Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc., will this year increase its budget for factories and equipment beyond the $2.7 billion it forecast in October that it would spend for 2009, Chang said today, reiterating comments made Dec. 4.

“The recovery in the technology sector has been very robust,” Chang said in a separate speech today in Taipei.

Taiwan Semiconductor, the largest component on the benchmark Taiex index, lost 0.2 percent to NT$62.80 as of 9:45 a.m. in Taipei while the gauge lost 0.1 percent.

The Hsinchu, Taiwan-based company is expected to post fourth-quarter profit that almost tripled to NT$31.2 billion when it reports on Jan. 28, according to the median of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company will update its guidance and equipment budget at that time.

The company said Jan. 14 it plans to recruit 3,000 engineers this year as it expands into chip making, solar energy and lighting.

Taiwan Semiconductor employed 20,566 people as of the end of September, according to Bloomberg data. Its sales are expected to climb 23 percent this year to NT$363 billion, after falling 11 percent in 2009 to NT$295 billion, according to the median of 24 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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