Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Taiwan's TSMC sees IoT as next big growth driver: report

Iain Morris
September 4, 2014
Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC is banking on the Internet of Things as the industry’s major driver of growth over the next five years.

According to a report from Taiwan’s Taipei Times, the manufacturer has said that burgeoning interest in wearable devices and other IoT hardware will spur demand for microcontrollers and sensors being developed by TSMC (Taipei, Taiwan) and its rivals.

“Those components will not entirely be made at eight-inch factories,” John Wei, a senior director of TSMC’s mobile and computing business division, is quoted as saying by the publication. “Many of them, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth [sensors], are produced at 12-inch factories … The demand will be diverse from low-end [chips] to high-end [chips].”
Although Wei does not reportedly believe the IoT will generate huge shipments imminently, he expects it to be a big driver of semiconductor growth in three to five years, when the industry has begun to mature.

TSMC is said to be working on power management ICs, applications processors and other integrated circuits that are specifically tailored to IoT applications.

Morris Chang, TSMC’s chairman, has also spoken this year about the importance of IoT for semiconductor markets, indicating in March that it will eventually overtake mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as the main growth driver.

Organisers of the SEMICON Taiwan tradeshow have estimated that the global semiconductor market will expand at a rate of 20.8% this year to $38.4 billion, growing by 11% in 2015 to $42.6 billion, as reported by the Taipei Times.

Much of that forecast growth is attributed to new investments in IoT technologies.

Semiconductor players globally are also anticipating a surge in take-up of IoT technologies that will have knock-on benefits for component makers.

Last week, US-headquartered Intel (Santa Clara, CA, USA) unveiled what it described as the world’s smallest 3G modem tailored for IoT applications.

The company has also recently signed an agreement with Taiwanese telecoms operator Chunghwa (Taipei, Taiwan) under which the two players will collaborate on IoT development.
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