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Apple chip supplier TSMC ups 2016 forecasts on sales likely linked to iPhone 7

Apple chip manufacturer TSMC on Thursday announced that it expects higher 2016 revenue growth, between 11 and 12 percent, based on the results of a strong third quarter likely influenced by the ramp-up for Apple's iPhone 7.

"Demand for high-end smartphones will continue to improve," co-CEO Mark Liu said at an earnings conference attended by Reuters. Like many supply firms, TSMC doesn't reveal the details of customer orders.

Previously TSMC was predicting a 5 to 10 percent increase in annual revenue. In the September quarter revenues rose 23 percent, and net profits were up 28 percent, the latter to $3.08 billion —in both cases, beating the company's previous quarterly records. In the month of September alone, revenue is said to have increased 39 percent.

For the December quarter is TSMC forecasting revenues between about $8.04 billion and $8.12 billion, not far from the Q3 record.

While TSMC has many clients apart from Apple, it's believed to be the only manufacturer of Apple's A10-series processors, used in the iPhone 7 line. Previously TSMC shared some A-series orders with Samsung, which itself was once Apple's exclusive manufacturer.

High Apple orders during the September quarter could suggest that the company expected strong demand for the iPhone 7, or at least the need to to manage a rapid international rollout. On Sept. 16 the device arrived in almost 30 countries, and launches are still in progress.