Relations between Kosdaq-listed ASIC design firm ADT and Taiwan’s top foundry company TSMC have reportedly soured, with the latter turning towards other South Korean suppliers, according to industry sources on July 30.
One such firm is Asicland, a local ASIC design house, which was recently chosen as a Value Chain Aggregator.
Until now, ADT was the only design house supplier for TSMC. The firm has also been handling most of the Taiwanese company’s foundry business sales in Korea. Recently, it’s been posting record-high revenues thanks to a sizeable controller chip order for solid state drives from SK hynix, the world’s No.2 memory chip maker.
Industry watchers say ADT’s relations with Samsung Electronics caused the rift.
Samsung has been placing some of its foundry design orders at S&ST, a local design house that’s new to the industry. S&ST’s research lab is in Vietnam, but other than that, little is known about the company.
Despite the short history and lack of a reputation, several semiconductor designers at local design houses working with Samsung moved to S&ST, triggering rumors that it has close ties with ADT. Apparently, TSMC also heard them and demanded an explanation from ADT.
“Our CEO and S&ST CEO are good friends, but officially, the two companies aren’t in any kind of business relations,” said an ADT official.
Critics, however, beg to differ, pointing out the narrow chances of landing foundry orders from Samsung for companies or individuals without extensive related expertise.
Meanwhile, ADT said the firm is not fazed by TSMC’s selection of a new supplier.
Analysts are projecting ADT’s sales to reach 180 billion won this year by growing nearly 70% growth. Last year, ADT’s sales surged 242% to stand at 110.3 billion won. Among its total revenues, those from SK hynix accounts for more than two-thirds.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.