GlobalWafers plans November start for Texas plant construction

06/28/2022 07:35 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, June 28 (CNA) Taiwan-based GlobalWafers Co., the world's third-largest supplier of silicon wafers, said Tuesday it was aiming to start work on a proposed Texas plant by November - provided the U.S. Congress approves CHIPS for America Act funding before August.

During a virtual press conference, GlobalWafers Chairwoman and CEO Doris Hsu (徐秀蘭) said the firm was ready to begin construction on the 3.2 million-square-foot 12-inch silicon wafer plant in Sherman, Texas before the end of the year - but only if it secures expected subsidies under the CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) for America Act before the Congressional recess in August.

Hsu said GlobalWafers would likely adjust its investment plan for Sherman if legislative wrangling sees the funding help up.

Hsu spoke with the press Tuesday after her company announced plans on Monday for the Sherman plant, which GlobalWafers anticipates will begin operations in 2025 and have an ultimate production capacity of 1.2 million wafers per month.

"With the global chips shortage and ongoing geopolitical concerns, GlobalWafers is taking this opportunity to address issues surrounding U.S. semiconductor supply chain resiliency, by building a state-of-the-art, 300-millimeter silicon wafer factory," Hsu said in a statement released Monday.

"Instead of importing wafers from Asia, GlobalWafers USA (GWA) will produce and supply wafers locally, thereby reducing carbon emissions," Hsu added.

In the Tuesday online meeting, Hsu said in addition to CHIPS for America subsidies, GlobalWafers had also taken into account other factors including the availability of talent, electricity, and water supplies in Texas.

Hsu said GlobalWafer has secured a deal for favorable power tariffs for the new plant in Texas, adding that the company would work with universities in the U.S. and Taiwan to train skilled workers for the plant.

Hsu said GlobalWafers would pour an initial investment of NT$55 billion (US$1.86 billion) into the plant, but estimated that the firm's total investment would hit around US$5 billion if monthly production is to reach 1.2 million units.

Liu Pei-chen (劉佩真), a researcher at the Taiwan Industry Economics Database under the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, said the decision for GlobalWafers to invest in Texas showed the company was banking on the state's future as a hotbed of wafer fabrication.

In May, Texas Instruments broke ground on a US$30 billion in Sherman, while Tesla and IBM have likewise set up shop in other cities in the state. GlobalWafers' plan in Texas came after the company's deal to acquire its German peer, Siltronic AG., fell apart in February as it failed to secure regulatory approval from the German government.

(By Chang Chien-chung and Frances Huang)

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