Taiwanese chip giant TSMC plans to launch its new factory in the US for making advanced 3-nanometre chips on December 6.
Company founder Morris Chang said on Monday that plans were not completely finalised yet, but initial work on the new facility would begin in two weeks time.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) – a major supplier for Apple and the world’s largest contract chipmaker – will spend $12 billion on the new plant in Arizona.
Last year, it was revealed that TSMC would build more chipmaking factories in Arizona, but discussions then focused on whether the next plant should make chips with 3-nanometre technology compared to the slower, less-efficient 5-nanometre chips that will be churned out when the facility begins production.
Chang, who spoke to reporters in Taipei after returning from the APEC summit in Thailand, said the 3-nanometre plant would be located at the same Arizona site as it current 5-nanometre plant.
“Three-nanometre, TSMC right now has a plan, but it has not been completely finalised,” said Chang, who is 91 and has retired from TSMC, but remains influential in the company and the broader chip industry.
“It has almost been finalised – in the same Arizona site, phase two. Five-nanometre is phase one, 3-nanometre is phase two.”
‘Many Countries Want Chip Plants’
TSMC, Asia’s most valuable listed company, declined to comment. But it will hold a “tool-in” ceremony in Arizona on December 6.
Chang said he would be attending, along with TSMC customers and suppliers and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
Chang said US President Joe Biden had also been invited, but that he did not know if he would be going.
Taiwan’s dominant position as a maker of chips used in technology from cellphones and cars to fighter jets has caused concern the world is too reliant on the island, especially as China ramps up military pressure to assert its sovereignty claims.
Both the United States and Europe are putting up billions in incentives to get companies to make chips closer to home, courting in particular Taiwanese firms.
Chang said people had only just woken up to how important chips were.
“There are a lot of jealous people, jealous of Taiwan’s excellent chip manufacturing,” he said. “So there are also a lot of people who for various reasons, whether it is for national security or making money, hope to manufacture more chips in their countries.”
Chang said in his meetings at APEC “many countries asked me, can we go to their countries to manufacture chips?”
He did not say which countries those were.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard