Although TSMC is leading the foundry sector with more than 50% market share, TSMC founder Morris Chang believes that Samsung has remained the strongest competitor in the segment due to several reasons, one of which is the fact that both TSMC and Samsung have a similar corporate culture.
But perhaps more importantly, Morris Chang is of the opinion that TSMC and Samsung share a few other qualities, such as a complete IC industry supply chain, as well as a robust talent pool. In addition, both TSMC and Samsung are established in countries that benefit from well-developed sea-air transport logistics, which are crucial elements for a foundry to remain competitive on a global scale.
At the same time, TSMC isn’t feeling any serious threat from China, as none of the China-based foundry companies are capable of competing with TSMC’s technologies and expertise. According to Morris Chang, TSMC is at least five years ahead of China’s IC manufacturing capacity, though it’s only 1-2 years ahead of China in terms of technology.
Samsung continues holding on to its long-term plans
TSMC is leading the foundry market but despite its extremely favorable position in the segment, Samsung continues to be a threat as it plans to become the world’s greatest semiconductor company and overtake TSMC by 2030.
The Taiwanese semiconductor company has started manufacturing a new semiconductor facility in Arizona last year, but Samsung is now following up with its own plans for investment in the USA, though only time will tell if the company’s alleged $17 billion investment will be poured into Texas, Arizona, or New York.
Of course, despite their similarities, there are some fundamental differences between Samsung and TSMC, foundry-wise. Most importantly, TSMC is a pure-play semiconductor company, meaning it manufactures chipsets for other clients — such as Qualcomm — without designing them. In contrast, Samsung Semiconductor is an IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturer) who both designs and manufactures ICs.