TAIPEI, May 4 (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
Co Ltd (TSMC) is planning to build several
more chipmaking factories in the U.S. state of Arizona beyond
the one currently planned, three people familiar with the matter
TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, announced in
May 2020 it would build a $12 billion factory in Arizona, an
apparent win by the Trump administration in its push to wrestle
global tech supply chains back from China.
TSMC is setting up a 12-inch wafer fabrication plant in
Phoenix, and the facility is expected to start volume production
in 2024, Taiwan's investment commission of the ministry of
economic affairs, which approved the investment, said in
TSMC manufactures the bulk of its chips in Taiwan and has
older chip facilities in China and the U.S. state of Washington.
Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on
condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to
the media, told Reuters that up to five additional fabs for
Arizona are being planned.
The initial fab is relatively modest by industry standards,
with a planned output of 20,000 wafers - each of which contains
thousands of chips - every month using the company's most
sophisticated 5 nanometre semiconductor manufacturing
It is not clear how much additional production capacity and
investment the additional fabs might represent, and which chip
manufacturing technology they would use.
TSMC last month said it planned to invest $100 billion over
the next three years to increase production capacity, though it
did not give details.
One person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters
the expansion was in response to a request from the U.S., but
declined to provide further details.
"The United States requested it. Internally TSMC is planning
to build up to six fabs," the person said, adding that it was
not possible to give a timeframe.
The Biden administration is preparing to spend tens of
billions of dollars to support domestic chip manufacturing.
Under existing legislation, foreign firms are eligible for those
funds, but whether they will ultimately receive it is an open
A second person familiar with the plans said the company had
already made sure there was enough space for expansion when they
obtained the land for the first plant.
"It's so they can build six fabs," the source said.
The 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 fabs over the next three years.
Reuters was not able to independently confirm the timeframe.
TSMC referred to comments by CEO C.C. Wei on an earnings
call last month, saying the company was starting chip production
in Arizona in 2024 with a 20,000 wafer per month 5-nanometer
"But in fact, we have acquired a large piece of land in
Arizona to provide flexibility. So further expansion is
possible, but we will ramp up to Phase 1 first, then based on
the operation efficiency and cost economics and also the
customers' demand, to decide what the next steps we are going to
Asked whether the planned expansion was because of a request
from the United States, TSMC said it was "not sure" what was
meant by "requests" coming from the U.S. side and that it will
decide next steps based on operational efficiency, cost
economics and customer demand.
"Once there is any official decision, we will disclose it
(Reporting by Taipei newsroom and Yimou Lee; Writing by Ben
Blanchard; Editing by Gerry Doyle, Kirsten Donovan)