In the early morning of March 2, TSMC reported that TSMC plans to build a total of 6 5nm factories in Arizona, the United States, and the factory area is about twice the size of all the factories in Nanke, one of TSMC’s “base camps”. At present, TSMC is recruiting talents for the Arizona plant through a total of 12 measures.
Industry insiders pointed out that if the news is true, the total investment of TSMC’s Arizona wafer fab is expected to exceed NT$1 trillion (about 234.717 billion yuan), and the total monthly production capacity can reach more than 100,000 pieces, which may be comparable to TSMC’s Taiwanese production. base.
At that time, TSMC will surpass Samsung and become the non-US semiconductor factory with the largest production capacity and the most advanced technology in the United States.
In response to this rumor, TSMC responded on February 28 that everything is based on the company’s public explanation.
TSMC may build 6 US 5nm factories
Taiwanese media Economic Daily quoted internal sources as saying that compared with all TSMC Nanke factories, the total area of TSMC’s Arizona factory may be twice the size of the former.
Although no specific area figures were given, in November 2020, Liu Deyin, chairman of TSMC, shared at the launching ceremony of TSMC’s 3nm factory that the world’s largest single 8-inch fab, wafer 6, wafer 10, and TSMC’s Fab 4A, Fab 14B, Fab 18, etc. are all located in the Nanke fab.
▲ Liu Deyin, chairman of TSMC, was at the ceremony of TSMC’s 3nm plant
According to reports, TSMC plans to use the Arizona plant to achieve the goal of building a “Mega Site (ultra-large wafer factory)” in the United States.
This also confirms the statement that Liu Deyin mentioned at the TSMC Law Conference in January that he hopes that the new US factory will develop into a Mega Site scale.
12 steps to encourage employees to travel to the United States
The Economic Daily also mentioned that in order to meet the mass production needs of the new Arizona plant, TSMC is launching a plan to motivate talents to work in the United States, and a total of 12 incentive measures have been proposed.
According to the relevant welfare instructions, the basic requirements for TSMC to send US employees are that the employees have at least 3 years of experience and provide TOEIC test scores. The incumbents need to go to the Nanke 18th A Factory for training in May this year, and will take up their posts in the United States in September 2022.
Incentive measures include: 1. Double basic salary; 2. Housing subsidy; 3. The company rents a car for employees to travel after passing the assessment; 4. Visa subsidy; 5. Air ticket subsidy; 6. Child kindergarten to high school tuition subsidy; 8. Free accommodation for one month at the beginning of the assignment; 9. Tax subsidy; 10. Language training assistance; 11. After 3 years of assignment, with the approval of the supervisor, the company can be transferred to the US factory, and the company will assist in applying for a green card (need to give up the position in Taiwan and Dividends); 12. After being assigned to the United States, the company will assist in giving priority to the administration of the new crown vaccine.
In response to this news, TSMC responded: “For a long time, TSMC has provided relative supporting measures for domestic transfer or expatriate employees to encourage domestic transfer employees to work across regions for a long time, or to ensure the development and maintenance of overseas personnel. Expat quality of life.”
Regarding the rumored green cards, vaccines and other related incentives, TSMC said it would not comment.
Behind TSMC’s visit to the United States: the United States vigorously develops chip manufacturing
As early as May 2020, TSMC announced that it will build a new 5nm fab in Arizona, USA, with a planned investment of US$12 billion. Construction will start in 2021, and it will be completed and put into production in 2024, with a monthly production capacity of 20,000 wafers.
In contrast, TSMC’s Tainan production base can produce about 100,000 wafers per month, and the cost of building the factory is US$17 billion.
Analysts believe that TSMC still chooses to build factories in the United States despite the obvious cost gap, perhaps because the United States is vigorously strengthening its own supply chain security.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, the U.S. share of global semiconductor manufacturing has plummeted in recent decades. It was 37% in 1990 and has now dropped to 12%.
In this context, both the Trump and Biden administrations are committed to launching measures to revitalize semiconductor manufacturing capacity.
According to previous reports by Bloomberg, the Biden administration in the United States is currently drafting a plan to protect infrastructure, which is likely to include restoring its local chip manufacturing capabilities. The plan has won bipartisan support in the United States because it can create jobs and accelerate economic recovery.
Conclusion: Great Powers Compete for Semiconductor Manufacturing Capability
As a global foundry leader, TSMC not only has the technological advantages of advanced chip manufacturing, but also occupies an undoubted strategic position. This is also confirmed by the US attracting TSMC to build factories in the country.
Looking at the world, in the context of the game of great powers, the technological capability of chip semiconductors has become an element of competition among countries. In addition to the United States, Europe, Japan and other regions or countries have recently reported plans to develop local wafer manufacturing.
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