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.
"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."