Saturday, June 13, 2009

What If Chip Manufacturers Made Solar Cells?

TSMC, via Bloomberg News

Seeking Growth Market, Chip Maker Eyes Solar Cells

HSINCHU, Taiwan — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, or TSMC, has seen the light and now wants to make some.

The world’s largest for-hire chip maker could soon start manufacturing solar cells and LED lights. The company’s entry into these nascent industries will catch the attention of existing makers, which could find themselves battling one of the most formidable manufacturers on the planet. Taiwan Semiconductor could drive down prices, as it did for computer chips. But the lower prices could also stimulate demand for what are now expensive technologies.

For the company, the move far afield from semiconductors signals a sweeping change and a need to find growth in less-mature markets. “Their foundation that has been so successful over the last couple of decades is starting to slow,” said Michael McConnell, an equities analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. “It’s natural for them to want to branch out.”

Complete article at The New York Times

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