TSMC U-turn; considers building German, Japanese wafer fabs

July 13, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
TSMC U-turn; considers building German, Japanese wafer fabs
TSMC, the world's leading foundry, may change its policy and agree to set up wafer fabs in Germany and Japan, according to a Digitimes report that references unnamed sources.

The additional fabs would be in Dresden, Germany and in Japan's Kumamoto district. In both locations TSMC has made agreements with local authorities and is in talks with local customers, the report said. In Germany, the plant would provide 16nm/12nm processing to satisfy the needs of such companies as NXP Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies and On Semiconductor, the report added.

The discussions could also involve a European semiconductor industry consortium that the European Union has been keen to put together that could involve such companiesas NXP, Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Dialog Semiconductor, AMS and ASML

eeNews Europe approached TSMC but a spokesperson said the company was unable to provide a comment because it was in its "official quiet period" ahead of announcing financial results.

The possibility of more overseas wafer fabs would represent a change of heart by the foundry giant that has always prefered to keep its manufacturing focused on a few campus sites in Taiwan. In the past it has made exceptions in the US and China and is now coming under increasing pressure to do so again. Until recently TSMC said it had no plans to manufacture chips in Europe (see TSMC has no "concrete" plans to make chips in Europe). Similarly it appeared to have persuaded Japan that rather than provide front-end wafer fab it was prepared to engage on back-end packaging, particular as chiplet style assembly of components was becoming a key activity (see Japan's TSMC joint venture attracts 20-plus participants and Report: TSMC, Japan to share cost of Tokyo chip facility).

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