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Taiwan chip firm eyes green pastures

TAIWAN Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world's top contract chip maker, expects its foundry business to grow steadily over the next 10 years, and plans to venture into new areas that it hopes will fuel growth further, its chairman said yesterday.

TSMC is eyeing new pastures in the green energy sector with plans to venture into LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and solar energy as the firm ponders diversification and seeks long-term growth drivers beyond chips.

Revenue from TSMC's foundry business will grow by as much as 50 percent to between US$14 billion and US$15 billion by 2018, Chairman Morris Chang told a news conference, up from about US$10 billion in 2008.

Chang, who will serve as the firm's chief executive again from today, also said its new non-foundry business would garner revenue of another US$2 billion by then.

"There will be many challenges in future and one of them is to create new businesses to fuel TSMC's growth. Growth in the global semiconductor industry is already slowing," Chang said as he aims to steer TSMC's ride on the sector's nascent recovery.

Semiconductor sales will only recover to 2008 levels of around US$20 billion in 2012, Chang said. TSMC claims about half of the global sales now.

"We hope to find business opportunities to enter the green energy sector," said Rick Tsai, TSMC's incumbent CEO. "That will help fuel the company's growth and profit."

TSMC said it did not rule out spinning off its new businesses in the future.

Chang will replace Tsai, who will serve as president of TSMC's new business development unit, reporting directly to him from today.



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