Thanks to greater-than-expected demand for Apple’s upcoming iPhone models, chairman and founder of the world’s largest contract-based SoC-manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), has officially joined the billionaires club — having surpassed a $1 billion net fortune as his company’s valuation surged over 27% in the past year alone, according to Bloomberg.
Morris Chang, who founded TSMC in 1987 with the support of Taiwan’s government, is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology- and Stanford-educated Ph.D. who spent the latter-majority of his career working for Texas Instruments prior to establishing TSMC when he was in his mid-50s, making him the first person to build a semiconductor factory that exclusively built chips for customers based on their own designs. Chang is currently 86-years-young, and while he stepped down as TSMC’s Chief Executive in 2005, later returning for another stint as CEO between 2009 and 2013, he remains chairman and one of TSMC’s largest shareholders at 0.5% to this day. TSMC’s majority shareholder remains the government of Taiwan, who through the country’s National Development Fund owns a 6.4% stake in the firm.
TSMC, being the exclusive manufacturer of Apple’s next-generation A11 SoCs for the iPhone 7s, 7s Plus, and high-end iPhone 8, has seen its valuation surge this year thanks to expectations that demand for Apple’s iPhone will continue to rise. Shareholders are likewise optimistic about the firm’s longer-term growth potential, which is fueled by optimism that “cars, high-performance computing, and the Internet of Things will be new growth drivers for its processors,” according to Credit Suisse Group’s Taipei-based equity analyst, Randy Abrams.
Though the Taiwanese chip-giant reported Thursday that its overall revenue had dipped to NT$66.3 billion ($2.2 billion), due primarily to “seasonal weakness in demand for smartphone chipsets,” TSMC’s market cap has nevertheless swelled to over $183 billion, which renders it the most valuable company on Taiwan’s stock exchange’s Taiex Electronics Index. Han Hai Precision Industry Co., the parent company of Apple’s primary iPhone assembly partner Foxconn Technology Group, is currently the second-most valuable company on the exchange, with a market cap that rose 52% over the past year to $66 billion.