Now Japan wants a domestic TSMC fab

July 20, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Now Japan wants a domestic TSMC fab, says report
Japan is set to invite TSMC to build a wafer fab in the country in a similar move to that taken recently by the United States, according to a local report.

The report in the Yomiuri Shimbun did not name its sources but said that local chip makers or research institutions would be involved, Bloomberg and Reuters reported. The government could offer funding support worth several 100 billion yen (several billion UD dollars) provided Taiwan's foundry was prepared to undertake joint development, the report said.

There are similarities here to the US move to "onshore" TSMC's technology (see TSMC picks Arizona for 5nm wafer fab ) although Japan has added a layer of local stimulus to its plan as it seeks to re-invigorate its ailing domestic chip industry. TSMC has stated that it plans to spend $12 billion on a 5nm wafer fab in Arizona, which could take several years to realize. The final level of US government financial support is not yet clear as it will likely come from a mix of funds at the federal and state level.

If TSMC does agree to Japan's request it is probable that – as in the US – it will bring technology behind the leading edge of what is possible. TSMC is already starting to manufacture 5nm circuits and is developing its 3nm manufacturing process.

While Japan may ask, it is not at all certain that TSMC will comply. TSMC cannot place multibillion dollar wafer fabs – even those behind the leading edge – in every geographic region that calls for one. The one condition that might sway the manufacturing giant is of the world becomes yet more protectionist and Japan mandates local quotas for semiconductor content in equipment.

According to the report the Japanese government wants to secure state-of-the-art technology for the production of sensitive products that could affect its national security.

Related links and articles:

TSMC picks Arizona for 5nm wafer fab

TSMC dragged to the altar of US manufacturing

TSMC is planning a US wafer fab . . . again

HiSilicon breaks into top ten chip vendor ranking


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