back to article Chipmaker TSMC to build 'up to five' more factories in Arizona

TSMC is said to be considering building up to five additional chip plants in Arizona as well as the one it announced last year. Under the previous president, the US government wooed the Taiwanese chipmaker into opening another semiconductor fabrication plant on US soil – the biz has a subsidiary in Washington state turning out …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They really do need to diversify their production base, in case China decides to invade Taiwan... I mean engage in military exercises in Chinese Taipei.

    1. Mark Exclamation Bronze badge

      I agree. I would hope that, when (not if) China does invade Taiwan, the Taiwanese have already planted huge explosives around the chip factories ready to detonate when all the workers are well away. Failing that, I hope the US destroys them in such an event. We can't risk that technology falling into the hands of the CCP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I would hope that, when (not if) China does invade Taiwan, the Taiwanese have already planted huge explosives around the chip factories ready to detonate when all the workers are well away.

        I am trying to picture that happening,

        Worker 1: What is with all those barrels that they are placing around, inside and outside, the building ? You know the new barrels, the ones with the big clocks on the front and antennas on the top.

        Worker 2: No idea. Did you hear about the new smoking ban, we are not allowed to smoke anywhere now.

        Worker 1: That is fubar, screw that I'm going to vape in my bunny suit!

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      China is not going to invade Taiwan

      They view them as sort of a "misguided sibling", they don't want to kill their people but Taiwan would not go down without putting up a fight even if no one came to their aid. Nor would invading Taiwan give them TSMC's fabs. Fab equipment is some of the most sensitive and precisely calibrated equipment in the world. TSMC doesn't need to "plant explosives" to destroy the fab, that would be like using a nuke to destroy a library when a single match will do.

      That equipment is probably useless without constant vendor engineering support to keep it in working order, support that ASML would not be providing for the same reason they aren't selling EUV equipment to China. China would get themselves a bunch of buildings with super expensive but mostly useless equipment even if TSMC employees didn't sabotage anything on their way out the door.

      They also couldn't effect a takeover of the entire country instantly, so if one began no doubt the "brain drain" of fleeing Taiwanese would totally gut its economy and advanced fabs wouldn't be the only thing China would fail to get their hands on.

  2. gormful

    Chip fabs require lots and lots of process water. One of the reasons for TSMC's reduced output recently has been a shortage of fresh water in Taiwan.

    So they're expanding to one of the three driest states in the continental US? Makes perfect sense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yea. In addition to water, I'd imagine the plants need lots of power. They probably also need cooling. Seems like two more factors that should make Arizona suboptimal.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Mostly chip fabs need vast amount of $$$ which Arizona tax payers can supply.

        TSMC aren't going to build a cutting edge 3-4nm fab in the USA, certainly not for their cut of the $50bn 'investment'.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      The amount of water a large fab needs is overstated, it amounts to maybe a few tens of thousands of households. The water exiting the fab isn't totally useless either, the treatment may not leave it drinkable but could be used for stuff like irrigating golf courses.

      And TSMC hasn't slowed production AT ALL due to lack of water. They've had to truck water in, but when you are making millions in revenue per hour the cost to truck in water is negligible.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    massive investment

    "TSMC expects to invest about $100bn through the next three years to increase capacity to support the manufacturing and R&D of leading edge and specialty technologies."

    That's huge ! But then, you don't have much for 1bn in this industry !

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: massive investment

      Note the clever wording, it didn't say it was investing that in the USA.

  4. Binraider

    I may have to re-learn how to play Next War : Taiwan... The Korea game was quite complex enough!

  5. Scene it all

    Intel is already taking lots of water for its plants in Arizona.

    California is stopping Nestle Corporation from taking too much water there as well.

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