TSMC bows to CHIPS Act pressure with 3nm US fab

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

TSMC has announced plans for a 3nm fab in Arizona, despite previously saying a leading edge fab did not make economic sense.

The foundry says in a statement that it is increasing its investment in the Arizona site from US$12bn to US$40bn to accommodate the 3nm plans, with production of over 600,000 300mm wafers per year when up and running in 2026. It is currently bringing up 3nm in production in Taiwan for mass production next year.

However the original plans for six fabs on the site were expected to cost $35bn. A proportion of the investment, as yet undisclosed but likely to be that $5bn difference, would be supported by the US CHIPS Act funding to provide local chip manufacturing.

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The company has attempted to address part of the economics by saying the chips produced by both fabs in Arizona would have an estimated end-product value of more than US$40bn a year. By that time, TSMC will be bringing up its 2nm process in Taiwan.

Global Wafers last week broke ground on a factory in Texas to supply silicon wafers to customers that include TSMC.

TSMC Arizona is in the planning stages for an on-site Industrial Water Reclamation Plant that when finished, will allow the TSMC Arizona site to achieve near zero liquid discharge.

“When complete, TSMC Arizona aims be the greenest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States producing the most advanced semiconductor process technology in the country, enabling next generation high-performance and low-power computing products for years to come,” said TSMC Chairman Dr. Mark Liu. “We are thankful for the continual collaboration that has brought us here and are pleased to work with our partners in the United States to serve as a base for semiconductor innovation.”

The announcement comes as US president Joe Biden visits the plant in Phoenix for the installation of the first equipment.



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