Supply chain
Changes of the semiconductor industry
Colley Hwang, DIGITIMES, Taipei

Since IC was invented, the semiconductor industry has undergone four stages of structural changes.

In the 1950s-1970s firms such as IBM and Motorola had to handle product design, fabrication and packaging all on their own. In the 1970s-1990s, production for system products and semiconductors was separated. And since the 1990s, IC design, wafer foundry and backend segments have been operating separately. This is basically how the semiconductor industry works today. But starting in 2010, the line of division has been blurred again, with foundry also doing packaging work. TSMC has been able to beat Samsung to Apple's chip orders partly thanks to its packaging tenolohy.

With the line blurred, competitiveness will hinge on one's capability of forming with core clients new ecosystems.

Semiconductor industry development timeline

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