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Chipmaker TSMC is watching the expansion of planned plants in Arizona

FILE PHOTO: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) logo seen at its headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan, August 31, 2018. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) (2330.TW) plans to build several more chip factories in the US state of Arizona beyond what is currently planned, three acquaintances told Reuters.

TSMC, the world’s largest maker of contract chips, announced in May 2020 that it would build a $ 12 billion plant in Arizona, a clear victory for the Trump administration in its quest to fight global technology chains. deliveries from China.

TSMC is setting up a 12-inch waffle factory in Phoenix, and the facility is expected to begin mass production in 2024, the Taiwan Ministry of Economy’s investment commission said in December, which approved the investment.

TSMC manufactures most of its chips in Taiwan and has older chip facilities in China and the US state of Washington.

Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, told Reuters that up to five additional faxes were planned for Arizona.

The original manufacturer is relatively modest by industry standards, with a planned output of 20,000 waffles – each containing thousands of chips – each month, using the company’s most advanced 5-nanometer semiconductor technology.

It is not clear how much additional production capacity and investment the additional factories could represent and which chip production technology they would use.

Last month, TSMC said it planned to invest $ 100 billion over the next three years to increase production capacity, although it did not provide details. Read more

A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that the enlargement was in response to a request from the United States, but declined to provide further details.

“The United States has asked for it. Internally, TSMC plans to build up to six factories,” the person said, adding that it was not possible to provide a time frame.

The Biden administration is preparing to spend tens of billions of dollars to support local chip production. Under current law, foreign companies are eligible for these funds, but whether they will eventually receive them is an open question.

A second person familiar with the plans said the company had already made sure it had enough room to expand when it received the land for the first plant.

“This is so that they can build six factories,” the source said.

A third person from a TSMC supplier involved in the Arizona project said TSMC had told them the plan was to build a total of six factories over the next three years.

Reuters was unable to confirm the timeline independently.

TSMC cited comments from CEO CC Wei in a revenue call last month, saying the company began producing chips in Arizona in 2024 with 20,000 wafers a month of 5-nanometer technology.

“But we’ve actually acquired a large piece of land in Arizona to provide flexibility. So further expansion is possible, but we’ll move on to Phase 1 first, then based on exploitation efficiency and cost economy, and demand Asked if the planned enlargement was due to a request from the United States, TSMC said it was “uncertain” what was meant by “requests” coming from the United States, and that will decide the next steps based on operational efficiency, cost economics and customer demand.

“Once there is a formal decision, we will announce it accordingly.”

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