This would be a dramatic increase from the already market-leading $28 billion annual capital expenditure TSMC has planned for 2021 (see US fab part of TSMC capex surge to $28 billion). It also comes after Intel has committed to a $20 billion multiyear spend to create two wafer fabs (see Intel to build two wafer fabs, be foundry for Europe).

TSMC is the technology leader in semiconductor manufacturing and is experiencing high demand for its leading-edge manufacturing processes at 7nm, 5nm and with 4nm and 3nm in development.

The massive spend is an apparent long-term response to a current chip supply shortage but may also be interpreted as an attempt to “burn off” of competition. Intel has struggled over a decade to introduce a series of FinFET nodes but has appointed Pat Gelsinger as CEO with an apparent remit to resuscitate Intel’s fortunes.

Intel, still the largest chip company in the world by annual revenue, would struggle to match this level of spending, even if it had the technology to capitalize.

TSMC responded to media questions about the current chip supply shortage with a statement saying: “TSMC expects to invest US$100 billion over the next three years to increase capacity to support the manufacturing and R&D of advanced semiconductor technologies. TSMC is working closely with our customers to address their needs in a sustainable manner.”

TSMC did not indicate how it would finance the spending. Nor is it clear where it will locate additional manufacturing facilities.

In the past TSMC has favoured clustering multiple wafer fab buildings on large sites in Taiwan. However, it has built wafer fabs in China and the United States and is now planning a major investment in Arizona.

The European Union is also eager to attract leading-edge chip manufacturing to the continent but with only automotive as an electronics industry of global significance it is not clear that Europe will be able to persuade TSMC to come (see TSMC has no “concrete” plans to make chips in Europe).

Related links and articles:

News articles:

US fab part of TSMC capex surge to $28 billion

Intel to build two wafer fabs, be foundry for Europe

Samsung petitions, Austin, Texas, for more subsidies

Reports: Europe wants Samsung and TSMC to enter fab project

TSMC has no “concrete” plans to make chips in Europe

TSMC plans six wafer fabs in Arizona


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