Owing to its status as the world’s reigning contract chipmaker, TSMC continues to be wooed by foreign countries into expanding its manufacturing beyond its home base of Taiwan. According to sources with Nikkei Asia, the Japanese government is the latest to seek TSMC’s presence and expertise, having launched a proposal for a potential 12-inch wafer plant located in Kumamoto that could switch between various process technologies (e.g., 28 nanometer, 16 nanometer). This plant would be located close to one of Sony’s plants and “help meet growing demand for image sensors, automotive microcontrollers, and other chips.” In a separate report, Nikkei Asia revealed that TSMC is also considering building a semiconductor packaging facility in the U.S for integrating different types of chips onto wafers. This would be TSMC’s first chip packaging plant outside of Taiwan.
“TSMC is considering a proposal by the Japanese government to build an advanced chip factory in Japan, though it has not yet fully committed and finalized [the plan],” one of the sources said. The plant would be the Taiwanese company’s first chipmaking facility in Japan, whose companies accounted for 4.7% of TSMC’s revenue in 2020. It would mark a significant departure from the company’s decadeslong strategy of maintaining most of its production in its home market.
Sources: Nikkei Asia (1, 2), Seeking Alpha