Bitmain Urgent Order 100k 12nm Chips From TSMC In 2018
According to Digitimes, TSMC has received an urgent order from Bitmain for 100k 12nm HPC (high performance computing) chips at the beginning of 2018. 10k chips will be delivered every month in Q1 2018 and more in Q2.
HPC is a the key element for the development of advanced technology applications such as artificial intelligence, AR / VR and bitcoin mining equipment. Previous report indicates that order from Bitmain has overtaken Hisilicon in terms of 10nm chips in December 2017. Hisilicon is the provider of Kirin chips for Huawei, the largest mobile phone producer in China now.
In the teleconference held in Q3, TSMC said that the cryptocurrency ASIC has generated 350 million -400 million revenue for the Company. In contrast, revenue from AI chips is expected to be only 400 million USD for 2017 full year. The booming of cryptocurrency mining market has also drawn the attention of other wafer makers. Recently, Samsung Electronics signed a contract with Baikal, a bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer in Russia, to manufacture mining ASIC chips, which is scheduled for mass production in January 2018 in 14nm process.
According to the latest quarterly earnings of TSMC, the quarterly revenue of cryptocurrency mining businesses is around 375 million USD, accounting for 5.1% of the Group’s sales. However, as the price of cryptocurrencies continues to rise, the business segment is likely to grow rapidly. HPC demand from mining cryptocurrency is expected to boost TSMC revenue in 2018.
TSMC also expects Bitmain to be first batch of client for its 7nm process in 2018.
Bitmain also march on the AI market with its Sophon TPU BM1680. Although Cannan and Ebang just released their latest miner at the end of 2017, both of them are not considered equal opponent of Bitmain.