HSINCHU, Taiwan - The founding chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, says he is bullish over future sales growth for his firm while confirming his company had a monopoly over chip manufacturing for Apple's current smartphone range.
Morris Chang also said Saturday that TSMC's leading edge in chip technology would allow it to keep a dominant share of the chip manufacturing market over rival Samsung Electronics, which is currently embroiled in a PR crisis over its Note 7 safety recall.
Samsung claimed earlier this week to have become the first company in the world to produce cutting-edge 10-nanometer chips, a claim Chang disputed during a press conference at his company's annual sports and family day.
"We have already begun churning out advanced 10-nanometer chips... I think our schedule is definitely ahead of Samsung," Chang said.
Chang's remarks reflected TSMC's growing dominance in the mobile chip sector, following a string of woes for its South Korean rival.
Observers believe Samsung lost chip orders to TSMC for Snapdragon 830 smartphone processors, manufactured by U.S. mobile technology firm Qualcomm, due to technical issues with its own 10-nanometer chips.
Samsung and TSMC shared chip orders for iPhone 6s series, but Chang confirmed Saturday that his firm had a 100% share of Apple's current generation range.
Market watchers have long speculated that Samsung lost orders for the iPhone 7 after reports its chips were not as powerful as those produced by TSMC.
It is also expected that TSMC will continue its monopoly on processor chips when the iPhone 8 range is launched next year.
TSMC now controls around 55% of the chip foundry market and has more than 470 customers worldwide, including Apple, Qualcomm, Nvidia Corp. of the U.S., MediaTek of Taiwan, and Hisilicon Technology, the chip arm of China's Huawei Technologies.
For this calendar year, TSMC is forecasting revenue growth of 11-12%, up from NT$843.5 billion ($26.6 billion) in 2015, with Chang forecasting an even better outlook for the year ahead.
Chang said he was very confident of TSMC's future growth against Samsung and U.S. chip giant Intel, telling reporters that "imitation is the best flattery" in reference to apparent attempts by competitors to emulate TSMC's success in the chip foundry sector.
Primarily known for designing and manufacturing chips for its own products, Chang said Intel would not pose a threat to TSMC when it came to making chips for other firms.
He added that Samsung would not prioritize its foundry business as the South Korean conglomerate was focused on its smartphone and memory storage products, and was likely still reeling from the Note 7 handset explosion debacle.
"It's really bad that Samsung has not yet found out the real cause of the explosion," said Chang. "I think it's terrible because it's a reliability issue... It's a major issue that all tech companies should definitely avoid and reflect on."
Nikkei staff writer Debby Wu in Taipei contributed to this story.