TSMC may open Japan factory in 2023 to supply Sony: report
Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is reportedly finalizing a decision to establish its first chip factory in Japan, which could start operations as early as 2023.
The planned factory in Kumamoto Prefecture, on the southern island of Kyushu, would produce around 40,000 chips per month using TSMC's 28 nanometer process, Nikkei Asia reported Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
It would mainly be used to supply Sony Corp., TSMC's biggest client in the country, the report said.
According to the report, TSMC's board of directors is expected to make a final decision on the project this quarter. If approved, plant construction would proceed in two stages, bringing it into operation as early as 2023.
TSMC's 28nm technology has a wide range of applications, including chips for image processors and the microcontroller units used in automobiles and many consumer electronics.
The Kumamoto factory, however, would mainly be used to produce image sensors for Sony, which are used in devices such as digital cameras, the report said.
According to the report, TSMC's final decision on the project could still be swayed by such factors as the availability of incentives from Japan's government and commitments by Japanese suppliers to build chip-related infrastructure necessary for the development of supply chains.
The company is also considering a joint investment in the plant with Sony, which would give Sony greater operational control, but also allow it to lead negotiations with Japan's government, the report said.
According to Nikkei, Sony declined to comment on the article, while TSMC noted it previously confirmed such a project is being evaluated, but said it had no further news at this time.
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