Reports: Europe wants Samsung and TSMC to enter fab project

February 18, 2021 //By Peter Clarke
Reports: Europe wants Samsung and TSMC to enter fab project
The European Union is considering the construction of a wafer fab to build chips below 10nm and wants TSMC and Samsung to be involved, according to reports on Bloomberg and elsewhere.

The political goal is to limit Europe's dependence on other countries for the ICs needed to make such things as 5G wireless systems, connected cars, high-performance computing and more.

Both TSMC and Samsung could be involved in the European project but nothing has been decided, a French Ministry official is reported saying by the Taipei Times.

That fab could be newly built or a redevelopment of an existing wafer fab according to unnamed sources referenced by Taipei Times. The sources added that no final decision has been taken and the time frame of the project is still to be determined.

In an opinion piece Bloomberg described the plan as misplaced calling the project a plan to build $30 billion white elephant. It said that Europe does not generate enough demand for leading-edge ICs to justify a wafer fab. TSMC has said it has no plans to make chips in Europe but has not ruled it out (see TSMC has no "concrete" plans to make chips in Europe).

That fab could be newly built or a redevelopment of an existing wafer fab according to unnamed sources referenced by Taipei Times. The sources added that no final decision has been taken and the time frame of the project is still to be determined.

The ambition for Europe to re-engage with the leading-edge in chipmaking is in line with a joint-declaration signed by politicians from 17 European countries. They launched an initiative in December 2020 (see Europe will try to rebuild semiconductor capability using pandemic recovery funds).

Next: Who moved our chips


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