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TSMC Q1 2024 earnings on strong AI chip demand

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A logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is seen during the TSMC global RnD Center opening ceremony in Hsinchu on July 28, 2023. (Photo by Amber Wang / AFP)

Amber Wang | Afp | Getty Images

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company on Thursday beat revenue and profit expectations in the first quarter, thanks to continued strong demand for advanced chips, particularly those used in AI applications.

Here are TSMC’s first-quarter results versus LSEG consensus estimates:

  • Net revenue: 592.64 billion New Taiwan dollars ($18.87 billion), vs. NT$582.94 billion expected
  • Net income: NT$225.49 billion, vs. NT$213.59 billion expected

TSMC reported net revenue rose 16.5% from a year ago to NT$592.64 billion, while net income increased 8.9% from a year ago to NT$225.49 billion. The firm guided first-quarter revenue to be between $18 billion and $18.8 billion.

TSMC is the world’s largest producer of advanced processors and counts companies such as Nvidia and Apple as its clients.

“For the second quarter of 2024, we expect our business to be supported by strong demand for industry-leading 3-nanometer and 5-nanometer technologies, partially offset by a continued smartphone seasonality,” CFO Wendell Huang said during the firm’s earnings call Thursday.

CEO C.C. Wei said TSMC expects 2024 to be a “healthy” growth year, supported by “our technology leadership and broader customer base.”

“Almost all the AI innovators are working with TSMC to address an insatiable AI-related demand for energy efficient computing power,” said Wei, adding that the firm estimates revenue contribution from server AI processors to “more than double this year.”

TSMC expects second-quarter revenue to be between $19.6 billion and $20.4 billion.

TSMC currently produces 3-nanometer chips and plans to commence mass production of 2-nanometer chips in 2025. Typically, a smaller nanometer size yields more powerful and efficient chips. 

Strong demand for AI chips led by the proliferation of large language models such as ChatGPT and Chinese clones has caused TSMC’s shares to surge 56% in the past one year.

“TSMC is well-positioned for strong performance based on key industry trends. The continued demand for advanced chips, particularly those used in AI applications, is a positive sign for both the short and long term. The focus on advanced chip development, like the shift towards 3nm technology, is another factor driving long-term growth for TSMC,” Brady Wang, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said on Monday ahead of the results.

'It's all upside' for TSMC and other chipmakers over the next decade, advisory firm says

TSMC accounted for 61% of global foundry revenue in the fourth quarter, according to Counterpoint Research data. Samsung Foundry came in second with 14% of the market.

“TSMC’s net profit margin continues to be one of the highest in the company’s history at 40%, against an industry average of 14%, demonstrating TSMC’s strong competitive position. The high margin is the result of an increased share of sales of 7nm and smaller chips, which have…

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