TSMC Prepares for US-China Chips Decoupling
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On May 15, the world’s largest contract chipmaker announced plans to open a production plant, or “fab,” in Arizona, US. If you know the industry, it doesn’t seem to make business sense: the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will build a 5nm fab in Phoenix, Arizona and start churning out chips by 2024, with a target of processing 20,000 wafers per month. The chipmaker plans to invest $12 billion through 2029.
First, the Arizona fab will be small, and not at all leading-edge by TSMC’s standards. A 5nm fab will be mid-range, at best, in 2024. Right now, TSMC itself already produces Apple’s A14 processor on 5nm nodes for the upcoming iPhone 12. Qualcomm, AMD, and Nvidia are working closely with TSMC to ensure high volume production of their 5nm chips by 2021. If TSMC sticks to its plan, the company will start high volume production of 3nm chips in 2022. Also, 20,000 wafers per month is a tiny amount—“like dipping your toes in the water”—compared to the 2.5 million wafers per month TSMC currently processes...
Read more at TechNode.com.