Taiwan Semiconductor 4Q16 Earnings Call Notes

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Morris Chang

We have created 100s of thousands of jobs by creating the fabless industry

“But having said all that, I will say that Mr. Trump, President-Elect Trump, has said many times that he wants to create jobs in the United States. And we highly applaud that. TSMC actually has created, we believe, hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States in the last 20-30 years of our existence. We for all practical purposes, we have created an industry, the fabless industry, in the United States, and we have grown it, and the fabless industry, I believe, employs hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. And we have done that by being here ourselves. So I think that we’ll continue to create more jobs in the United States by helping the fabless industry in the United States. And the IDMs, the users, there are many IDMs in the United States that use us. And by using us, they have grown faster. And they create jobs too.”

We wont rule out setting up a fab in the US but that would come with sacrifices

“I do not rule it out, but I see a lot of sacrifices that we and our customers will have to make if we do that. Keep in mind that we earned our business in the United States, not by lower labor costs in Taiwan. In fact, on the whole, our labor costs in Taiwan – our labor costs in Taiwan are not lower than the United States.

Now, we earn our business by being good. Let’s give you an example. Every year we send thousands of engineers from one location to another, and we have three locations in Taiwan, Taichung, Hsinchu and Tainan. Now Taichung and Hsinchu are within daily commuting distance…every year we send literally over a 1000, 2000 engineers from one location to another who’ll be there for months and that allows us to ramp up things quickly and to solve problems quickly also where one location, one fab has got a problem then another fab – engineers from another fab can go ahead and help them. Literally thousands, thousands of engineers do that every year. Now if we have a plant in the U.S. we won’t be able to do that anymore.

Second point, we have thousands of vendor people here. Actually they’re already in Hsinchu – already in Hsinchu, Tainan and some in Taichung also. Thousands of engineers from our partners located here. These are things that are not low labor cost. These are things that we’re going to lose if we set up a plant in the U.S. And if we lose these things our customers will lose too.

Yes, I don’t rule it out and actually I would never rule that out but year–after-year time and again we consider the subject and we have not made the decision to go there.”

Mark Liu

AI discussion

I think AI is coming a killer application for the industry and people are excited. And one of the reason is there is a tremendous progress in the algorithms that makes the machine into much more than traditional programming – programmable machine. This is the machine can think and do things. So for the application side it’s immense, as many of you must have read on these growing opportunities. All the cloud provider are in this field.

Now, in AI, for us, I think it’s also an important opportunity for us. Let me just talk about the computing side of AI. AI needs a deep learning [ph] and collecting a lot of data, therefore it requires very massive computation. And in the past years our technology development is collecting apace and we now can provide the world’s most competitive technology for those artificial intelligence computing purposes. That’s number one. So the people who can get into this field is across the industry, using our technologies.

Secondly is this AI is – this is new, so the all the algorithm or the architecture, they are all new. So the computing…basically it’s the playing field is level. It’s not as before, where the high component is computing. It has to be a certain architecture to get into this field. This is a leveling playing field, so many players are into this field. That is where the massive innovation can come. So we are very excited. Also because of this we see the application will include many segments.”