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TSMC exec: Chip industry to recover in 3 years

Longtime figure in the semiconductor arena says it'll be 2012 before the industry bounces back, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal.

Anne Dujmovic Senior Editor / News
Anne Dujmovic is a senior editor at CNET. She can trace her start in tech journalism back to the San Jose Mercury News during the dot-com boom and bust. Her areas of focus include the climate crisis, democracy and inclusive language. She believes in the power of great journalism and art, and the magic of tardigrades.
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Things are gloomy all around, the global chip industry included. And as much pounding as the semiconductor market has taken, it hasn't hit bottom. The good news? It's "pretty close," Morris Chang, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Friday.

Morris Chang, chairman of TSMC, predicts the
chip industry will see a recovery in 2012." credit="Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co." alt="Morris Chang" />

"I think it will be 2012 before the total revenue of the semiconductor industry gets back to the '08 level," said Chang, who has worked in the industry for more than 50 years. He founded TSMC, the world's largest contract chip manufacturer, in 1987.

Last month, TSMC reported a 64 percent drop in profit for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with the same period the year before. Its sales were down 31 percent. The news came on the heels of Intel reporting a steep drop in profit for the fourth quarter. Lora Ho, chief financial officer of TSMC, said in a statement then: "The global economic recession continues to worsen. Customers...continue to pare their inventories aggressively, resulting in a further significant cutback of wafer demand."

The Journal story also said that Chang expects a "continued decline for companies that make both consumer products and semiconductors." Although of the companies that do both, Samsung and Intel are "in a strong position."