Apple’s sole supplier of A-series processors for iPhones, TSMC, shared today that it expects premium smartphone shipments to decrease this year. Interestingly, the chip maker says that the cryptocurrency market is what will help keep its business growing.
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In a report from Nikkei, one of TSMC’s CEO’s shared specifics about its expectations for the smartphone market to see high-end model shipments decreasing and mid- to low-end devices seeing a slight boost this year.
“In terms of shipment units, high-end smartphones are decreasing for this year,” C.C. Wei, co-chief executive of TSMC, said at the company’s fourth-quarter earnings briefing. “Mid-to-low-end smartphones will increase by several percentage points. For TSMC, overall wafer revenue for mobile phones will be flat compared with 2017.”
About half of TSMC’s 2017 $33B revenue came from mobile devices, of which a large portion would be from producing Apple’s iPhone chips. This news comes after a report earlier this week that other Apple suppliers were reducing output after weaker than expected iPhone 8 sales and the peak holiday season ending.
Interesting enough, even with a weaker outlook for its revenue from its mobile business, TSMC is forecasting 10%-15% revenue growth for this year due to growth in sales for cryptocurrency chipsets. The company’s chairman, Morris Chang said more about the emerging market.
Chang said one of the key elements fueling growth for 2018 is a continuation of robust cryptocurrency mining, or production, and the increasing use of AI applications at data center servers and in electronic devices.
In the last six months, Bitmain, a Chinese-startup that focuses on Bitcoin mining chips and mining products, has become one of TSMC’s top customers, alongside Apple.