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TSMC no plan to invest in U.S. 3nm chip production: ministry

2017/03/20 20:00:22

Chen Liang-gee (陳良基)

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, has no plan to build a 3-nanometer chip plant in the United States as reported in the local media, an official at the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Monday.

Citing Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) who talked to TSMC Chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) on the telephone earlier that day, Chiu Chiu-hui (邱求慧), the official responsible for science parks at the ministry, said Chang told the minister TSMC currently has no plan to invest in the U.S.

During the 10-minute telephone call, Chang stressed that TSMC will prioritize investment in Taiwan and currently has no plan to set up a plant in the U.S.

A newspaper report on Monday, indicated that TSMC is planning to invest NT$500 billion (US$16.39 billion) in an advanced 3 nanometer process in the U.S. because of the unstable provision of electricity by Taiwan Power Co., the sole power supplier in Taiwan.

The report said Taiwan's government was willing to help TSMC secure land in Lujhu, Kaohsiung, for a 3nm plant but the company was worried it would be unable to complete the environmental impact assessment in time to meet its 2022 start date for mass production of the advanced chip and was concerned about poor air quality and power supply issues.

TSMC said in response to the report that it will prioritize investment in Taiwan and is still assessing potential sites for the production of 3nm process chips by taking into account such factors as water and electricity supply, land acquisition and human resources.

A decision on a prospective site will not be made until the first half of next year when thorough assessments have been completed, the company said.

Chiu said the ministry remains in close contact with TSMC and generally does whatever it can to meet the company's requirements when setting up advanced manufacturing plants, including water and electricity supply as well as land acquisition.

The ministry has also been doing everything in its power to help the chip maker develop chips based on the 5nm process in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan, she said.

The environmental impact assessment for TSMC's 5-nanometer process production plant in Tainan was approved by the Environmental Protection Administration in January. TSMC said the 5-nm process is scheduled to start trial production in 2019 and expected to create 500 jobs, boosting local development.

(By Chen Cheng-wei, Jalen Chung and Evelyn Kao)
Enditem/AW