(Bloomberg) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. reported a stronger-than-expected 22% rise in quarterly sales, buoyed by orders from its largest customers including Apple Inc.
The world’s largest contract chipmaker saw revenue for the three months to September climb to a record NT$356.4 billion ($12.4 billion), up from NT$293 billion a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on monthly sales data disclosed by TSMC. Fellow Taiwanese chipmakers United Microelectronics Corp. and MediaTek Inc. on Thursday also reported strong sales, suggesting a broad recovery in the industry.
TSMC in July raised its 2020 outlook, saying that revenue this year will grow by more than 20% in dollar terms. Sales for the first nine months of the year suggests that Apple’s main iPhone chipmaker is on track to meet its growth forecast as the Covid-19 pandemic fueled demand for home computing equipment.
The company’s business typically revs up in the months before Apple unveils new iPhones and the holiday season. It also likely received a boost during the quarter as its second-largest customer Huawei Technologies Co. raced to stockpile supplies before a U.S. ban on shipments to the Chinese telecom giant came into effect last month. Rival chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. reported on Thursday earnings that beat analyst estimates after its mobile and chip businesses benefited from the curbs on Huawei.
“The demand strength will sustain and see an upside risk to TSMC’s 4Q20 revenue guidance to be announced next week,” Bernstein analysts led by Mark Li wrote in a note. “The ramp of iPhone is delayed but just makes 4Q20 sequentially stronger. Apple silicon is ramping and will fuel the momentum in 4Q20 too. More recently, Huawei’s competitors are aggressive in placing orders, all vying to gain the share left by Huawei.”
Monthly figures released
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For the better part of two years President Trump and his advisors have been intent on killing Huawei, the giant telecommunication equipment maker. Hawks in his administration see the Chinese 5G leader as a threat to American national security. With every global installation of its next generation wireless networks, the perceived threat grows.
President Trump in 2018 signed an executive order that forbid Huawei from selling telecom gear in the United States. A year later, placement on an entities list forced American companies to obtain a special license to sell products and services to Huawei, effectively choking off the supply of key components. The Commerce Department in May went one step further, maneuvering so that even foreign companies could not work with the firm.
Huawei, once a vibrant firm with $100 billion in global sales, is now struggling to survive.
Emboldened, the White House has started to broadened its attack. Using some of the same tools and rhetoric, Mike Pompeo, State Department chief, targeted other best-in-class Chinese firms, ByteDance, the parent company to TikTok, and Tencent Holdings, maker of WeChat,