TSMC, a foundry that has largely focused its production facilities in mainland China and Taiwan, may be expanding its presence in the United States. Already having announced plans for advanced 5nm factories in Arizona, with an investment of more than $12 billion, the chipmaker is contemplating pumping further money into building leading-edge foundries in the region.
According to Reuters, the pure-play semiconductor manufacturer is looking to build up to six production plants at the Arizona site, with the next one possibly being even more advanced. Company officials are reportedly debating setting up equipment to allow 3nm production in the United States which would be a first.
The 5nm foundry which has been announced will manufacture 5nm EUV chips which although one of the more advanced process nodes, has already been in production in TSMC’s Taiwan factories. Apple’s M1 SoC is the first to leverage the node. If TSMC manages to build a fab in Arizona that starts 3nm production around the same time as its Taiwan fabs, it’d be a major win for the US government.
At the same time, it’s worth noting that a 3nm fab would cost as much as $25 billion, more than twice as much as the first initiative. It’s unlikely that TSMC will invest this much in a foundry aimed to serve a specific country or region. At the same time, if the US government grants it some funding or tax rebates, then it might not be that far-fetched.
The Biden administration has called for $50 billion in funding to support American chipmaking companies, and the Senate might approve it as early as next week. The government officials, however, claim that the funding won’t be applicable to foreign chipmakers.