Production increasing at TSMC, UMC and others

Taipei (Taiwan) – Rival chip-making companies, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) have recalled all or most previously laid off workers and production is returning to normal levels. This comes after a substantial decline which began in late September, eventually falling to 60% of previous production capacity resulting in forced unpaid leave and lay offs.

According to DigiTimes, “TSMC has returned to almost full production, buoyed by a surge in short lead time orders for handset chips, telecom products and graphics processors, according to industry sources.” The order increases are up 10% to 30% in this quarter alone. Texas Instruments and Qualcomm have both seen quarterly orders increase by 10% to 15%.

TSMC and UMC have reportedly recalled all employees on their 12″ fab production lines and have “further shortened or ended compulsory unpaid leave.”

The following chart shows TSMC and UMC declines over the past 13 months:

TSMC saw relatively steady or increased sales through October, 2008. UMC saw the same through October, 2008. Both TSMC and UMC reported sales down 60% in February, 2009.