The chairman of the world’s largest contract chipmaker has become a billionaire thanks to expected demand for Apple Inc.’s new iPhone.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) shares have surged 27 per cent in the past year, lifting founder and Chairman Morris Chang’s personal fortune to $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Chang, 86, owns 0.5 per cent of the business directly and through his family, according to a May 2017 filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
The climbing valuation is being fuelled by optimism for a revenue boost from the upcoming iPhone release, as well as long-term expectations that cars, high-performance computing and the Internet of Things will be a new growth driver for its processors, according to Randy Abrams, a Taipei-based equity analyst at Credit Suisse Group.
Elizabeth Sun, TSMC’s spokeswoman, declined to comment on Chang’s net worth.
The Taiwanese chip giant reported after the market’s close on Thursday that its net income had fallen to NT$66.3 billion ($2.2 billion) in the three months ended June amid seasonal weakness in demand for smartphone chipsets and gains in the local currency. Analysts had been expecting earnings of NT$69.6 billion on average.
TSMC’s market cap has swelled to $183 billion, making it the most valuable company on Taiwan’s stock exchange. Hon Hai Precision Industry, the listed flagship of iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group, is the second-most valuable company on the exchange, rising 52 per cent in the past year to $66 billion.
The Taiwan Taiex Electronics Index, a measure of the market’s technology stocks, is up 18 per cent in the same period. Chang founded TSMC in 1987 with backing from Taiwan’s government, which remains the company’s largest shareholder through the National Development Fund’s 6.4 per cent stake. The graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University spent the majority of his career working for Texas Instruments Inc.
He established TSMC when he was in his mid-50s, where he became the first to build a semiconductor factory that made chips based on the designs of its customers. He stepped down as chief executive officer in 2005 only to return when TSMC’s business stagnated, serving another stint as CEO between 2009 and 2013.