In rather unprecedented news, TSMC is expected to announce plans of building a silicon foundry in Arizona, USA. Till now, most of TSMC’s facilities have been concentrated in Taiwan, China, and other East Asian countries. This is massive news as it’ll be TSMC’s first major factory in the West. TSMC fabs chips for Apple, AMD, NVIDIA, Huawei, and most other fabless chipmakers. It’s the largest pure-play foundry and the third-largest overall, after Intel and Samsung.
The cost of a new foundry in the United States will cost billions of dollars and will most likely come from the Trump government. Lately, there have been concerns about America’s over-reliance on China and other Asian countries for microprocessors and other 5G equipment. This is most likely a step from the government to try and address them.
While it’s still not certain whether TSMC’s first venture in the US will be successful or not, it’s the first measure of its kind to shift manufacturing to the West. There will be a lot of problems to address, the most important pertaining to the supply chain which is most established in China. Furthermore, the procurement of rare-earth elements will also be a challenge. Lastly, there’s the question of employee wages and working conditions. China and Taiwan are infamous for their low-wage economy and sordid working conditions. That’s something that simply won’t roll in the US. It’ll be interesting to see if and how TSMC deals with these challenges.