Samsung to mass-produce 3nm chips in 2022: Striving to overtake TSMC

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Samsung and TSMC are the only two companies that have the capacity to make chips with the 5nm process. However, Samsung seems to be in the shadow of TSMC but it is putting up a good fight. According to recent reports, Samsung Electronics is struggling to catch up with TSMC. The South Korean manufacturing giant plans to mass-produce 3nm chips in 2022.

Samsung 5nm production

Samsung Electronics executive Park Jae-hong said at an event recently that the company has set a goal to mass-produce 3-nanometer chips in 2022. The executive revealed that the company is already developing preliminary design tools with major partners. Presently, it has invested $116 billion in its next-generation chip business. This includes manufacturing chips for external customers.

Samsung Electronics leader, Li Zaiyong, has previously revealed that the company plans to use the latest 3-nanometer gate-all-around (GAA) process technology that is being developed to manufacture cutting-edge chips and provide them to customers around the world.

As we all know, the company has commenced the mass production of 5nm chips and is developing a 4nm process. In the chip foundry business, Samsung Electronics currently ranks second. It is second only to TSMC which holds the top position with a 52% market share as of last year.

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Regarding the competition between TSMC and Samsung Electronics, TSMC founder, Zhang Zhongmou, once said that Samsung Electronics is a very powerful opponent. TSMC currently has the advantage, but the war between TSMC and Samsung is definitely not over.

Samsung may take-over Apple M1 chip production

At Apple’s “One More Thing” event, the company released devices with its new 5nm chip (Apple M1) for Macs. Apple released the Apple Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro that uses the new M1 chip. Reports out of South Korea claim that due to TSMC’s tight 5nm production schedule, Samsung maybe Apple’s option for the M1 chip. If this happens, Apple will be using its rival’s solution for the first time in five years.

South Korean media, Business Korea, reported that Apple initially handed over all M1 processors to TSMC. However, analysts pointed out that TSMC is currently unable to meet all of Apple’s needs. We all know that Samsung and TSMC are the only two manufacturers in the world that can produce 5nm chips.

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A researcher from NH Investment & Securities pointed out that Apple’s M1 chip orders account for about 25% of TSMC’s 5nm process capacity. However, TSMC already moved most of its 5nm capacity to Apple’s foundry (iPhone 12’s A14 chips). There are expectations that Apple may have to transfer orders that TSMC cannot satisfy to Samsung’s foundry for processing.

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