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Root scientific causes of TSMC's leadership / Intel and Samsung's failure

Portland

Active member
They are 12 hours. 996 was used in China has it worked? Smic? Stem can be an art and a creative process is involved. Companies do need creatives.

Taiwan is part of coalitions. They're better team players because they have to be. That a site from Arizona will be using a Taiwan process from sales at Taiwan says something.
 
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VCT

Member
Working hours is not the key for TSMC Arizona fab.
Communication and leadership from different language and culture is the key to success.

That's why Morris Chang said a good manager in Taiwan will not necessary become a good manager in US.
 

benb

Active member
More about 996
It’s unofficially official, for exempt employees. It doesn’t apply to hourly. It doesn’t violate any laws because exempts, are, you know, exempt from those laws.
Cafeterias stay open late, so it’s official enough that a meal is served in the evening specifically for 996 workers.
I think it’s important to discuss because it affects Americans too. It’s part of the reason fabs moved to Asia; a better deal from the perspective of the owners. There was recently an agreement among some nations for a global minimum corporate tax to limit the incentive for large enterprises to go tax venue shopping. But enterprises can still venue shop for the longest exempt work hours.
 

l3mhuang

New member
I have worked as a supplier to all three. There are very significant cultural differences between the 3 organizations. TSMC: thousands upon thousands of engineers and PhDs marching to the SAME drum. Their ability to achieve large scale coordination of purpose is unmatched. TSMC: wide open to new ideas, no matter how small, if they will advance the company's goals of performance and cost. I never had a problem getting a last minute appointment at TSMC fabs to discuss new ideas. True on cutting edge and true on 150 mm wafers! Intel: no air gets in. Most PhDs are picked 6 months after graduation with no industry experience as a rule. Intel: no interest in cost cutting or performance improvements if technology is "released". Intel: no older fabs generating cash to pay for everything else. Intel: focus on share buy-backs not technology. Samsung: very much like TSMC in terms of coordination but without a single focus. Making DRAM + foundry logic + own ASICS + mobile devices and have CEO in jail at same time, that's probably your explanation right there. The secret sauce: people. @benb Surely you mean Taiwanese contractors, not Chinese.
You nailed it, Taiwanese contractors!
 

Portland

Active member
Kintestsu has a hub in Portland and their big client is tsmc. It's 996 and 997 there. They're having supply crunch and labor problems as well.
 

Xebec

New member
I'd like to hear more about the 996 in a future podcast or articles. This sounds like something with significant implications on the industry.

My experience in non semi (but other high tech and defense) industries in the US is that something approaching 996 tends to be the expectation for executives but also often has health impacts for the workers involved at ages typical for those execs.
 

peter

New member
996 definitely doesn't apply to Korea. Korea's Labor Standards Act amended in 2018 allows for a maximum of 52 hours of work per week, down from 68 hours before. They're quite strict on it to the chagrin of many in the tech/IT/media industry, making it much harder for them to meet deadlines on projects and such, there's plenty of news covering the complaints of game developers, TV production sets and so on and so forth about the difficulties posed by the labor law.

As for contractors, Korean contractors are among the fastest in the world so that part is irrelevant vs Taiwan or China. When Taipei 101 was under construction, the TFCC, which owns the building, transferred the entire construction authority over to Samsung C&T Corporation to expedite the build out. Earlier this year, Samsung C&T was selected to build a new terminal at the Taoyuan International Airport, so no, the Koreans do not have a disadvantage in that regards.

On the other hand, labor cost in Korea is definitely higher than Taiwan. Minimum wage is substantially higher in Korea (roughly $9.25/hr) vs Taiwan (roughly $5.25/hr). In fact, minimum wage in Korea is higher than Japan (roughly $7.50/hr) and the United States ($7.25/hr). Just three days ago, there was a report released showing Korean college graduates starting salary at companies with 500 employees or more is 59% higher than the equivalent salaries at conglomerates in Japan.

Taxes are generally higher in Korea vs Taiwan and R&D deductions are lower in Korea vs Taiwan, military spending as percentage of GDP much higher in Korea vs Taiwan, and another factor to consider is, Korea's always had cheap electricity due to favorable policies towards nuclear energy, that all went to the crapper with Fukushima and President Moon's administration, causing huge losses for KEPCO and raising electricity bills across the board. Taiwan will face energy issues too with their decision to follow suit with phasing out nuclear energy, both countries have very limited land for solar and to meet renewable energy targets, have to spend heavily on offshore wind which is $$$.

But as someone else pointed out above, Korea has a wide variety of industries that are competitive on the world stage. Car manufacturing, ship building and locomotives, household appliances, media and pop culture, batteries, petrochemicals, food and pharmaceuticals, Korea has a strong presence in all these industries, whereas Taiwan, outside of TSMC and semiconductors, you have a few EMS supplying IT equipment with relatively low margins, Formosa Plastics in chemicals (also affiliated with Nanya), some banks/financial institutions, and Evergreen? In that sense, I fear Taiwan has too many eggs in one basket with TSMC. As much as I dislike TSMC having a near monopoly on leading edge processes and not having a viable competitive second source, maybe the fact they're dominant in semis will be a good enough reason for the rest of the world to rally behind them to stand up to China, which to me is more important in the big picture of things.
 

VCT

Member
996 definitely doesn't apply to Korea. Korea's Labor Standards Act amended in 2018 allows for a maximum of 52 hours of work per week, down from 68 hours before. They're quite strict on it to the chagrin of many in the tech/IT/media industry, making it much harder for them to meet deadlines on projects and such, there's plenty of news covering the complaints of game developers, TV production sets and so on and so forth about the difficulties posed by the labor law.

As for contractors, Korean contractors are among the fastest in the world so that part is irrelevant vs Taiwan or China. When Taipei 101 was under construction, the TFCC, which owns the building, transferred the entire construction authority over to Samsung C&T Corporation to expedite the build out. Earlier this year, Samsung C&T was selected to build a new terminal at the Taoyuan International Airport, so no, the Koreans do not have a disadvantage in that regards.

On the other hand, labor cost in Korea is definitely higher than Taiwan. Minimum wage is substantially higher in Korea (roughly $9.25/hr) vs Taiwan (roughly $5.25/hr). In fact, minimum wage in Korea is higher than Japan (roughly $7.50/hr) and the United States ($7.25/hr). Just three days ago, there was a report released showing Korean college graduates starting salary at companies with 500 employees or more is 59% higher than the equivalent salaries at conglomerates in Japan.

Taxes are generally higher in Korea vs Taiwan and R&D deductions are lower in Korea vs Taiwan, military spending as percentage of GDP much higher in Korea vs Taiwan, and another factor to consider is, Korea's always had cheap electricity due to favorable policies towards nuclear energy, that all went to the crapper with Fukushima and President Moon's administration, causing huge losses for KEPCO and raising electricity bills across the board. Taiwan will face energy issues too with their decision to follow suit with phasing out nuclear energy, both countries have very limited land for solar and to meet renewable energy targets, have to spend heavily on offshore wind which is $$$.

But as someone else pointed out above, Korea has a wide variety of industries that are competitive on the world stage. Car manufacturing, ship building and locomotives, household appliances, media and pop culture, batteries, petrochemicals, food and pharmaceuticals, Korea has a strong presence in all these industries, whereas Taiwan, outside of TSMC and semiconductors, you have a few EMS supplying IT equipment with relatively low margins, Formosa Plastics in chemicals (also affiliated with Nanya), some banks/financial institutions, and Evergreen? In that sense, I fear Taiwan has too many eggs in one basket with TSMC. As much as I dislike TSMC having a near monopoly on leading edge processes and not having a viable competitive second source, maybe the fact they're dominant in semis will be a good enough reason for the rest of the world to rally behind them to stand up to China, which to me is more important in the big picture of things.
"I fear Taiwan has too many eggs in one basket with TSMC."
As a Taiwanese, I don't think we have enough resource to be successful in too many different industries.
 

SPQR54

New member
If you for something more scientific I suggest the link between volumes and process control. TSMC has been consistently capable of aggregating enough volume of processed wafers in R&D and early ramp-up to make process control and yield feasible. Do not forget that variance goes as the root square of the sample size so the higher the volumes the better your process control becomes possible. Especially when you want to achieve things like less than one defect per trillion vias.
I would go to the point of postulating that Intel needs to become a foundry as it doesn't have anymore the volumes required to achieve and maintain a below 7nm process.
 

Portland

Active member
The glut will hit and tsmc as well as Samsung are in a better position. There is a lot of trash where I live but some good people will be hurt.
 
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