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Samsung and Apple and TSMC

Paul McLellan

Active member
TSMC's stock has been depressed recently since people seem to think that Apple doing well is bad for TSMC since it is bad for Qualcomm. I don't get it. Firstly, TSMC build the application processor, so there is nothing but upside there. And Qualcomm build the modem so there is nothing but upside for both Qualcomm and TSMC who both ship more. Looked at in isolation there is nothing but upside.

Samsung selling fewer phones is bad for Qualcomm since they use Qualcomm for the application processor and the modem (integrated). So that is bad for both Qualcomm and TSMC.

So if a user buys an iPhone instead of a Samsung then there is a decrease in silicon content for Qualcomm (but not TSMC, they build both application processors).

I fully expect Samsung to ship more phones than Apple next quarter due to Apple's once-a-year product release cycle that produces a bockbuster quarter followed by flat to declining quarters until the next announcement.

xiaomi uses Qualcomm too, so good for both Qualcomm and TSMC.


Active member
My thinking...
1. Apple is switching over to Samsung (14 nm) for iPhone 7.
2. Samsung uses its own Exynos chip in their flagship phone is a HUGE loss for both Qualcomm and TSMC (as TSMC does not make Exynos)
3. Qualcomm is also switching to Samsung (14 nm) over TSMC. I'm not sure if this is just for 14/16 nm node or long-term.

Your reasoning that TSMC will benefit from Xiaomi (who uses Qualcomm) may not hold in the future. A big part of the stock price is the company's potential for future growth. Right now, it appears Samsung has snatched (unfortunately) two of TSMC's biggest clients.


Active member
TSM (NYSE ticker for TSMC) is looking solid to me. EWY (Korea ETF which is 40% Samsung) looks horrible, as you would expect given Samsung's recent results. INTC looks solid also, a bit more volatile than TSM though.

Investing in stocks means picking companies (will earnings grow?), picking markets (Taiwan and Korea are emerging markets) and picking currencies (US dollar strength is noticeable lately). What you see in the stock prices is a complicated picture right now, due to the differences in markets, currencies and earnings outlook. INTC earnings growth in USD terms may be less than expected (making hitting their numbers harder) due to all their overseas sales, and also overseas production (Ireland and Israel are key sites for 14nm production).

Daniel Nenni

Staff member
As I mentioned before, the SoC vendors may have to start choosing sides. QCOM has chosen Samsung at 14nm and may do so again at 10nm. MediaTek is TSMC. Apple can do whatever they want since they are a systems company. The Samsung Exynos is not a competitive chip so they will either need to get QCOM's help or maybe Intel if they want to be leading edge.

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics: The global SoC market grew 16 percent to $5.6B in Q3 2014. QCOM maintained its lead with a 51 percent revenue share in the third quarter, followed by Apple @ 19% and MediaTek @ 15%. That's 85% amongst three companies. A handful of other companies, mostly Chinese and Intel will fight for the rest.

TSMC's 12" wafer capacity should hit 500,000 this year. The SoC market should have another double digit growth year so I highly doubt there will be unused capacity anytime soon.

Arthur Hanson

Well-known member
The cell phone isn't the only product. Automation, robotics, IOT, solar, mems, 3D printing, medical and advanced sensors in everything will continue to increase demand in all areas of the semiconductor industry. The next market down the road will be the adoption of AI. 2D semi structures will also bring a whole new game to the industry. The semi industry is going to grow in depth and breadth with no end in sight.