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Strong quake leads to halts in production at TSMC, other tech firms

04/03/2024 01:42 PM
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CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only
CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) Several Taiwan tech giants, including chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, (TSMC), have suspended some of their operations in northern Taiwan after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked much of Taiwan on Wednesday morning.

TSMC, two smaller chipmakers, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) and Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (PSMC), and flat panel maker Innolux Corp. halted some of their production lines in the Hsinchu Science Park as a preventive step in response to the quake.

TSMC said it evacuated employees in some of its facilities in Hsinchu to ensure their safety, but the industrial safety systems in those plants continued to function normally.

The chipmaker was conducting inspections to verify whether its production lines in its Hsinchu Science Park fabs were damaged or not, it said.

It has also decided to temporarily halt construction on its new facilities around Taiwan and inspect them for safety reasons, TSMC said.

TSMC is currently building advanced wafer fabs in Hsinchu and Kaohsiung, and its Baoshan plant in Hsinchu is scheduled to start mass production in 2025 using the 2 nanometer process.

UMC said it has evacuated workers in parts of its plants located not only in the Hsinchu Science Park but also in the Southern Taiwan Science Park based on the company's disaster prevention procedures, and all of its employees remained safe.

The company said an inspection is underway to determine whether its equipment remained undamaged.

Graphic: Central Weather Administration
Graphic: Central Weather Administration

PSMC said it has also launched a preventive shutdown in Hsinchu and evacuated some of its workers, while also checking whether the earthquake affected any of its equipment.

While Innolux has suspended part of its production in Hsinchu, the Southern Taiwan Science Park Bureau said the flat panel maker's facility located in Kaohsiung was operating normally.

According to the Hsinchu Science Park Bureau, power supplies in the park remained normal, but water supplies in its biotech section and the Tonglou section were affected by the temblor.

The earthquake occurred off the coast of Hualien County with the epicenter located in the Pacific Ocean, 25.0 kilometers south-southeast of Hualien County Hall, at a depth of 15.5 km.

The earthquake's intensity, which gauges the actual effect of a seismic event, was highest in Hualien, where it measured a 6+ on Taiwan's 7-tier intensity scale.

An intensity level of 5+ was reported in Yilan County in the northeast and in Miaoli County in the north, while an intensity of 5- was reported in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan and Taichung, as well as Hsinchu, Changhua and Nantou counties.

(By Chang Chien-chung, Chang Ai and Frances Huang)

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Update

April 4

● 38 still missing as Hualien earthquake death toll rises to 10

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April 3

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