TSMC could spend $16+ billion on US chip plant, final decision in the first half of 2018

iPhone and iPad silicon maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) won’t make the decision whether or not it would build a foundry fab in the United States until sometime in 2018, Reuters reported Monday. The firm hinted it might start building some of the chips in America.

TSMC, which exclusively churns out Apple-designed mobile processors for latest iPhone and iPads, won’t make a definite decision on building a US plant this year because it would lose its “flexibility” if it made the move this year.

“We won’t make a decision until next year,” said TSMC spokesperson Michael Kramer.

“We would sacrifice some benefits if we move to the States. But we have flexibility in Taiwan. If an earthquake happened for instance (in Taiwan), we could send thousands of people here as support, whereas it’s harder in the States,” he told Reuters.

According to Taiwanese media, TSMC would make a decision on the plant in the first half of 2018 and could spend more than $16 billion to build and tool the plant. As we previously reported, TSMC is also looking at investing in Toshiba’s flash chip business.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, currently gets about 65 percent of its total revenue from the United States. The company is expected to be the lone supplier of Apple-designed processors for iPhone 8 and 2017 iPads.

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The semiconductor foundry is about to kick off commercial shipments of chips built on its ten-nanometer process later this month. In January 2017, TSMC expressed interest in taking advantage of business incentives proposed by President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, iPhone manufacturer Foxconn and its Japanese subsidiary Sharp are considering setting up an $8 billion LCD panel production plant in the US that could break ground before summer.

Source: Reuters