Taiwan Semiconductor Fourth Quarter 2022 Financial Analysis

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has released their 2022 fourth quarter (2022Q4) results, and aside from the contrast with Intel, they are revealing of trends both on the cutting and trailing edges on the semiconductor technology curve.

On the high end, TSMC’s 5 nanometre (nm) process node now accounts for more revenue than the previously dominant 7 nm node. As TSMC earns more per wafer at 5 nm, this has dramatically boosted their gross margins.

At the same time, however total revenue from legacy nodes such as 16 and 28 nm, which are used by many chips in the automotive sector are near record high quarterly revenue despite no new investment in gear to produce those nodes. The chip shortage has been so severe that TSMC has simply been able to charge so much per wafer for processes that peaked around 2016 to approach process revenue records.

TSMC expect 3 nm process revenue to come onto the chart in 2023.


Emphasis added.

Naturally, the word “elasticity” does not appear in the transcript.