TSMC has said that it will decide next year on building a United States chip plant to get the Trump government off its back.
Although recent reports have focused on Foxconn's potential move stateside for Apple-specific iPhone manufacturing, TSMC chairman Morris Chang in January mentioned that the supplier was not ruling out the U.S.as a location for one of its foundries. But we have flexibility in Taiwan.
The report further noted that "the Taiwan government was willing to help TSMC secure land in Lujhu in Kaohsiung for a 3nm plant but the company was anxious that it would not be able to obtain the environmental impact assessment in time to meet its 2022 start date for the mass production of the advanced chip process". Sources in Taiwan point towards a decision coming specifically in the "first half of 2018", with upwards of $16 billion potentially being invested in getting the American plant up and running.
The report said Taiwan's government was willing to help TSMC secure land in Lujhu, Kaohsiung, for a 3nm plant but the company was anxious 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 spokesperson Michael Kramer now says that "We won't make a decision until next year".
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. TSMC said the 5-nm process is scheduled to start trial production in 2019 and expected to create 500 jobs, boosting local development.