The additional fabs would be in Dresden, Germany and in Japan's Kumamoto district. In both locations TSMC has made agreements with local authorities and is in talks with local customers, said a report by Digitimes.
In Germany, the plant would provide 16nm/12nm processing to satisfy the needs of such companies as NXP Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies and On Semiconductor, the report added. These have more focus on automotive chip production, which has been a key shortage.
This is quite different from the discussions around a leading edge 5nm or 3nm fab, although by the time any fab is built and qualified in two to three years there will be demand for automotive parts built on the 5nm process node.
The discussions could also involve a European semiconductor industry consortium that the European Union has been keen to put together that could involve such companiesas NXP, Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Dialog Semiconductor, AMS and ASML
eeNews Europe approached TSMC but a spokesperson said the company was unable to provide a comment because it was in its "official quiet period" ahead of announcing financial results.
The possibility of more overseas wafer fabs would represent a change of heart by the foundry giant that has always prefered to keep its manufacturing focused on a few campus sites in Taiwan. In the past it has made exceptions in the US and China and is now coming under increasing pressure to do so again.
Until recently TSMC said it had no plans to manufacture chips in Europe and the company appeared to have persuaded Japan that rather than provide front-end wafer fab it was prepared to engage on back-end packaging, particular as chiplet style assembly of components was becoming a key activity.
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