TSMC's Phoenix plant expected to help create 'Little Taipei': Agent

12/06/2022 08:44 PM
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Some of the houses being built near TSMC
Some of the houses being built near TSMC's factory in Arizona. CNA photo Dec. 6, 2022

Phoenix, Arizona, Dec. 6 (CNA) The building of a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) plant in Phoenix, Arizona in the Greater Phoenix area is expected to lead to the creation of a "Little Taipei" over the coming year as TSMC employees and related companies move in, according to a locally-based real estate agent.

Taiwan chipmaker TSMC is investing US$12 billion to build a wafer plant in northern Phoenix that is scheduled to begin mass production of chips in 2024. The company will hold a tool-in ceremony to mark the installation of the first batch of equipment at the new fab on Tuesday.

New: Work started on 3nm fab in Arizona: TSMC

During a visit to the area Monday, a CNA reporter was told that some TSMC employees have moved into newly constructed apartments in a community just 10 minutes' drive from the TSMC plant, while several other residential units are under construction. A 'Little Taipei," or a TSMC village, mainly for the chipmaker's workers and employees of supporting companies, is apparently taking shape.

The CNA reporter met with a TSMC engineer surnamed Lin (林) who was accompanied to the U.S. by his wife and 2-year-old daughter and were set to go to their new home and look around Phoenix, which has a population of 1.625 million people.

Lin told CNA he and his family have been staying in a hotel since their arrival in the United States a couple of days ago and will move to their new home in a few days.

Working as a dispatcher in the U.S. is a rare experience, Lin said, adding that he planned to send his daughter to a local preschool.

Lin said his job duties in Arizona are basically the same as in Taiwan.

Bank of Taiwan Chairman Joseph Jye-cherng Lyu (left) is pictured with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego when the bank opened an office in the American city in June. CNA file photo
Bank of Taiwan Chairman Joseph Jye-cherng Lyu (left) is pictured with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego when the bank opened an office in the American city in June. CNA file photo

Lu Mu (盧慕), a real estate agent, said that the apartment complex, dubbed TSMC village, is close to the TSMC plant and office zone and major features in the neighborhood include a coffee shop and gas station, as well a shopping mall, supermarket, movie theaters and restaurants.

The TSMC Phoenix plant is expected to boost the development of the local housing market, bringing in a large number of employees and investors to the city, Lu said, adding that it is likely more and more apartments and standalone buildings will be built in the city in the future.

Remote work has been a mainstream option as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced numerous employees in the U.S. to work from home over the past three years and started a trend for Americans to move out of major cities. As a result, Arizona is now a popular destination for many American workers to start a new life, with the local cost of living lower than in many other U.S. states, according to Lu.

For instance, some have moved to Union Park, a new community about a 10-minute drive from the TSMC Phoenix plant.

Ben Frie, a retiree who was vice president for sales and marketing at one of the top 500 U.S. companies and moved to northern Phoenix from Kansas three years ago, said that he is pleased to see TSMC operate in the city as it will bring jobs and help drive up housing prices.

Michelle Chang (張聖儀), president of the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America, said that about 40 companies supporting TSMC's operations in Arizona have established facilities and offices in Phoenix, pushing the price of commercial property up by more than 100 percent over the past year.

By building its new plant in Phoenix, TSMC has not only given a boost to peripheral industries but also spurred Taiwanese food and beverage companies interested in making inroads in the city, including 85C Bakery Cafe, bubble milk tea brand Sharetea and fresh fruit tea brand Dayung's.

An 85C Bakery Cafe executive is seen in the chain
An 85C Bakery Cafe executive is seen in the chain's 67th store in the U.S, which was recently opened in Phoenix, Arizona. CNA photo Dec. 6, 2022

85C Bakery Cafe opened its first store in the city on Dec. 2, the 67th branch of the bakery cafe chain brand in the United States.

In addition, Bank of Taiwan opened an office in Phoenix in June.

When Arizona Governor Doug Ducey visited Taiwan at the end of August, he said that Phoenix's "Little Taipei" was gradually taking shape.

Chang said that "Little Taipei" will increase in size over the next year after various Taiwanese companies move into the area.

(By Lin Hung-han, Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)

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