Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract semiconductor foundry, said today that it plans to build an advanced chip foundry in Arizona with support from the state and the United States federal government.
The announcement follows a Wall Street Journal report earlier this week that White House officials were in talks with TSMC and Intel to build foundries in the U.S., as part of its effort to reduce reliance on chip factories in Asia. Based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, TSMC provides chip components for many of the world’s largest semiconductor companies and its U.S. clients include Apple and Qualcomm.
The plant, scheduled to start production of chips in 2024, will enable TSMC’s American customers to fabricate their semiconductor products domestically. It will use the company’s 5-nanometer technology and is expected to create 1,600 jobs and have the capacity to produce 20,000 wafers a month.
The U.S.-China trade war, national security concerns, geopolitical unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic have all underscored the shortfalls of relying on foundries located abroad and international supply chains.
The U.S. government has reportedly been in talks with TSMC for months, though one sticking point for the company was the high cost of building a new foundry. TSMC chairman Mark Liu told the New York Times in October that the project would require major subsidies because it is more expensive to operate a factory in the U.S. than in Taiwan.
In today’s announcement, TSMC said, “U.S. adoption of forward-looking investment policies to enable a globally competitive environment for a leading edge semiconductor technology operation in the U.S. will be crucial to the success of this project.”
The company expects to spend about $12 billion between 2021 and 2029 on the project, with construction slated to begin next year.
TSMC already operates a foundry in Camas, Washington, and has design centers in Austin, Texas and San Jose, California.