TSMC reaffirms ‘commitment to Taiwan’ despite US chip push

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co has sought to dispel fears that its massive investment in chip production in the United States could weaken Taiwan’s strategically important industry at a time of heightened tensions with China.

TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said last week that the world’s largest contract chipmaker had invested a total of NT$1.86 billion ($60.7 billion) in the production of chipsets. 3 nanometers and 5 nm – among the most advanced in the world – in its factory in Tainan. Science park in southwest Taiwan.

The amount, which is about 50% more than the $40 billion it plans to invest in the United States, “shows TSMC’s commitment to Taiwan,” Liu said at a ceremony at the factory marking the expansion and start of mass production of 3nm. chips.

The majority of TSMC’s production remains in Taiwan, but the company has begun building chip factories in the United States and Japan as countries and customers around the world push for onshore chip production. The company also plans to build its first European chip factory in Germany.

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The investment in Tainan has created around 10,000 high-tech jobs and 23,500 construction jobs, Liu said, adding that semiconductors will only gain prominence in the technology supply chain over the past 10 years. coming years.

Liu also confirmed for the first time that TSMC will build six phases, or expansion stages, at its 2nm chip factories in Taiwan’s central city of Taichung and the northern city of Hsinchu.

The nanometer refers to the distance between the transistors of a chip. The smaller the distance, the more advanced and powerful the chips. Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max mobile processors are made with TSMC’s 4nm process technology.

Mark Liu and Shen Jong-chin with a group of people

TSMC Chairman Mark Liu, center left, with Taiwan Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin, center right © Cheng Ting-Fang

TSMC’s US factory will eventually manufacture chips using 3nm technology but, for now, the chipmaker’s 2nm technology remains entirely in Taiwan.

Taiwanese Vice Prime Minister Shen Jong-chin, who also spoke at the event, said TSMC’s decision showed the world that rumors that the chipmaker was trying to transfer capabilities out of of Taiwan were “completely baseless”.

Taiwan is one of Asia’s most important technology hubs, with the world’s second-largest semiconductor industry by revenue after the United States. But the self-governing democratic island has faced significant aggression from Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and has not ruled out seizing it by force. Concerns over geopolitical disputes added to pressure on TSMC to diversify some of the manufacturing to other locations.

A version of this article was first published by Nikkei Asia on December 29, 2022. ©2022 Nikkei Inc. All Rights Reserved

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