Taiwan’s GlobalWafers to invest up to US$5b in Texas plant

WASHINGTON: Taiwan’s GlobalWafers yesterday unveiled plans to establish a massive factory in North Texas to produce a key component for semiconductor manufacturing with an investment of up to US$5 billion (RM22 billion).

However, the plan to produce silicon wafers, which would bolster the fragile supply of computer chips, is largely dependent on legislation pending in the US Congress.

“With the global chip shortage and ongoing geopolitical concerns, GlobalWafers is taking this opportunity to address the resilience of the U.S. semiconductor supply chain,” said GW Chairman and CEO Doris Hsu. in a press release.

“Instead of importing wafers from Asia, GlobalWafers USA (GWA) will produce and supply wafers locally.”

The material is used to produce chips needed for everything from cars to smartphones, and global shortages in recent months have been a factor in rising prices in the United States.

Construction of the new facility — the first of its kind in more than two decades — is due to begin this year in Sherman, Texas, with the first production rolling off the line as early as 2025, creating up to 1,500 jobs, the statement said. said.

However, GW Chairman Mark England said the deadlock in Congress over the US$52 billion “CHIPS Act” designed to boost US industry could hamper plans.

“The size and perhaps the timeliness of Texas investment” is at stake, he said in an email to AFP.

Democrats and Republicans are squabbling over different versions passed by the Senate and House of Representatives and have not agreed on the final form of the legislation that would provide subsidies to manufacturers.

England said in a statement that the legislation would help “level the playing field with global incentives” and help secure semiconductor investment and supply.

U.S. and state officials applauded the announcement, but Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urged quick passage of the CHIPS law.

“We are at a decisive moment to develop the national production of semiconductors,” she said. “Moving quickly to pass this bill will demonstrate America’s commitment to strong national semiconductor capability and provide more companies throughout the supply chain with the confidence they need to move forward. moving forward with investments here.”

300mm silicon wafers are the starting material for all advanced semiconductor manufacturing sites (or fabs), including recently announced US expansions by GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung, Texas Instruments and TSMC, but most are imported from Asia. -AFP

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