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Taiwan Semiconductor Considers Building Chip Plant in US

March 20, 2017
The world’s largest contract semiconductor maker makes chips for iPhones and other popular devices.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is considering the construction of a multibillion-dollar microchip fabrication plant in the U.S., a move that will help President Donald Trump’s effort to bring high-tech jobs and investment to the country.

The world’s largest contract semiconductor maker, which makes chips for popular devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPhones, is considering a range of locations--including the U.S.--for a cutting-edge 3-nanometer plant. The company has yet to finalize its plans and will come to a decision in the first half of 2018, TSMC director of corporate communications Elizabeth Sun said.

Trump has made noises about increasing taxes and tariffs on companies that make their products around the world before selling them to American consumers. That in turn has spurred car and technology manufacturers to investigate the costs of expanding their factories in the U.S. Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s main assembly partner, is also considering an investment in a U.S. plant of upwards of $7 billion that could create thousands of jobs.

“We have not ruled out going to the U.S., but the formal decision will not be made until early next year so there’s still quite a few months to go,” Sun said. “It’s too early to jump the gun to say where we will be landed at.”

TSMC currently operates a U.S. foundry subsidiary. It had been expected to build its 3-nm plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, taking advantage of a well-established local supply chain. An advanced facility of that sort could cost upwards of $10 billion to erect. But the Taipei-based Economic Daily News reported Monday that TSMC is thinking of putting that facility in an unspecified U.S. location instead, without saying where it got the information.

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