Forward-looking: TSMC is planning a second manufacturing plant in Arizona, a move that will bring the upcoming 3nm manufacturing process to the US. The facility could allow Apple to start making iPhones in the US but prices would go up. A lot.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will build a new plant to bring its 3 nanometer chip manufacturing process to the US. What previously was just a hope is now starting to resemble a full-fledged plan as the founder of the world's most valuable semiconductor company recently confirmed in a meeting with the press.
Plans for a second plant to be built in the same Arizona location where TSMC is already building its first factory are not completely finalized yet. During a press briefing in Taipei, Morris Chang explained that the second plant would be the "phase two" of TSMC's business expansion in the US, after the "phase one" 5nm plant is expected to begin producing chips in 2024.
Chips are "very important products," Chang said in Taipei after returning from a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders in Bangkok. The TSMC founder is now retired, but he seemingly retains some influence within the technology industry.
At APEC, Chang met with US Vice President Kamala Harris and Chinese President Xi Jinping. TSMC's influence over the industry and the global fallout of a Taiwan invasion by China were likely some of the most debated topics there.
Right now, TSMC accounts for an estimated 90 percent of the world's most advanced chip production, with a supply chain that includes some of the biggest names in the industry such as Qualcomm and Apple. The iPhone-making giant is one of the most interested parties for the Taiwanese foundry's US venture, as Cupertino will likely use the 3nm manufacturing process to make ARM chips for the iPhone 15.
According to Chang's words, there are a lot of people "jealous of Taiwan's excellent chip manufacturing." Many of these unspecified people would like to bring TSMC's manufacturing excellence to their countries. Chang said that "many countries" asked him to foster some form of partnership with the Taiwanese corporation during the APEC meetings, even though he didn't say which countries' representatives approached him.
For now, the Arizona investment is the main focus for TSMC's business expansion outside Taiwan. Chang said that he knows "for a fact" that manufacturing chips in the US will cost 55 percent more than in Taiwan, but such a hefty price will not "mitigate against moving some capacity to the US."