TSMC picks Arizona for 5nm wafer fab

May 18, 2020 // By Peter Clarke
TSMC picks Arizona for 5nm wafer fab
TSMC, the world's leading semiconductor foundry, has said plans to build and operate a wafer fab in the United States with support from the federal government and the State of Arizona.

However, the 300mm fab will be relatively small compared with a 5nm facility called Fab 18 being brought up by TSMC in Tainan, Taiwan. It is also notable that the wafer fab is not being labeled as a 3nm facility, although it would likely be able to migrate production to the 3nm node and beyond during the course of its lifetime.

The exact location of the Arizona wafer fab was not revealed nor that amount of financial support that TSMC will receive to build the wafer fab.

Such investments usually attract up subsidies of up to a third of their value in terms of tax breaks. TSMC has had a US fab plan under consideration for several years but has recently come under pressure from President Trump's administration (see US talks to Intel, TSMC about building local foundry fabs).

TSMC said that construction was scheduled to start in 2021 with chip production intended to begin in 2024 using the company's 5nm manufacturing process technology. The total cost of the project would be about $12 billion from 2021 to 2029.

The foundry added that the fab would have a manufacturing capacity of 20,000 wafer starts per month and would create about 1,600 jobs directly and thousands more indirectly.

"This US facility not only enables us to better support our customers and partners, it also gives us more opportunities to attract global talents. This project is of critical, strategic importance to a vibrant and competitive US semiconductor ecosystem that enables leading US companies to fabricate their cutting-edge semiconductor products within the United States and benefit from the proximity of a world-class semiconductor foundry and ecosystem," the company said in a statement.

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