This was a relatively poor showing in comparison with the foundries' previous years and in a year that semiconductor overall are reckoned to have grown by 13.4 percent due to strong memory sales and average selling prices (see Gartner: Memory carried 2018 global chip market to growth ). TSMC and UMC do not focus on discrete memories and the smartphone market that they do sell into has shown increasing signs of saturation and competitive pricing.
December 2018 sales revenue at TSMC (Hsinchu, Taiwan) fell by 0.1 percent compared with a year before, while sales at UMC (Hsinchu, Taiwan) were up 6.7 percent. TSMC's revenues for December 2018 were approximately NT$89.83 billion (about $2.92 billion), a decrease of 0.1 percent from December 2017 and a decrease of 8.7 percent from November 2018.
As a result, TSMC recorded 4Q18 revenue of NT$289.77 billion (about $9.41 billion) which was in the middle of the forecast range given with the 3Q18 financial results. Revenues for the whole of calendar 2018 totaled NT$1,031 billion (about US$33.48 billion), an increase of 5.5 percent compared to 2017.
The declining growth towards the end of the year end is in line with reports that TSMC may be seeing holds on orders for 7nm production due to oversupply of smartphones (see Report: Order downturn to leave TSMC with spare 7nm capacity ).
For UMC an uptick in sales in December saw it reach revenues of NT$11.39 billion (about US$369.8 million). UMC full year sales for 2018 at NT$151.25 billion (about US$4.91 billion), up 1.32 percent on the same period in 2017.
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