​Analysis | TSMC moves closer to U.S. military with Arizona plant

The announcement coincides with an effort by the U.S. administration to bring more foreign manufacturing to the United States amid soaring strategic rivalry with China.

An F-35A Lightning II fighter jet practises for an air show appearance in Ottawa, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of computer chips, announced plans on Friday to build a NT$12 billion advanced chip factory in Arizona.

The announcement coincides with an effort by the U.S. administration to bring more foreign manufacturing to the United States amid soaring strategic rivalry with China.

U.S. officials have long expressed concerns that the vast majority of the most advanced chips are made in Asia.

They reportedly pressed TSMC to increase production in the United States which is home to customers including Apple, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

TSMC produces chips for almost all the world’s electronics, from iPhones to Google data centers, according to the Nikkie Asian Review. Its reach extends into the U.S. military with programmable chips for Xilinx for use in U.S. F-35 fighter jets.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) is pictured in this Jan 30, 2019 file photo amid reports that he could run alongside Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) on the Kuomintang's (KMT) 2020 presidential ticket. (NOWnews)
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. founder Morris Chang is pictured in this Jan 30, 2019 file photo. (NOWnews)

Nikkei reported in January that the U.S. had stepped up the pressure as it lobbied TSMC to build secured chips for military use on American soil.

TSMC Chairman Mark Liu confirmed in April that his company was “actively” evaluating whether to build another plant in the U.S.

This new facility could also create as many as 1,600 high-tech professional jobs directly and thousands of indirect jobs in the semiconductor ecosystem.

The new plant will utilize TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology for semiconductor wafer fabrication. It will have a 20,000 semiconductor wafer per month capacity.

Construction is planned to start in 2021 with production targeted to begin in 2024.

TSMC currently operates a fab in Camas, Washington and design centers in both Austin, Texas and San Jose, California, alongside many other factories in China and Taiwan.