TSMC plans to open a chip plant in Arizona are in full swing. The manufacturer will have Apple, Nvidia, and AMD as their first customers. For Apple, specifically, the Cupertino company is trying to diversify its supply chain as it wants to rely less on China. On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden will attend a ceremony marking the installation of the first equipment at the facility.
The information comes from Nikkei Asia. According to the publication, the new TSMC Arizona plant is set to start making “some of the world’s most advanced chips as early as the end of next year.”
While it was first reported that production would start in 2024, numbers are looking better for the US government and big tech companies. Previously, TSMC was expected to produce only 5-nm chips, but it’s now saying it will also use 4-nanometer process technology while it plans to “eventually” do the same with 3-nanometer chips.
TSMC originally planned to produce 20,00 wafers a month in Arizona, but Nikkei sources believe the manufacturer is aiming to double that capacity.
The original plan was to make chips using the 5- and 4-nanometer process technology that TSMC currently uses to produce processor chips for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.
(…) Investment for the 3-nm expansion could be larger than the $12 billion TSMC is investing in the first phase of the plant, the sources said, but added that capacity will be further adjusted according to customer needs.
While chip production won’t be able to solve Apple’s supply chain issues with China and its zero-COVID-19 police, the company is also planning to expand its supply to Vietnam in India, as the latter country is already producing the latest flagship iPhones for the first time.
Another interesting point to have in mind is that producing chips in the US will be more expensive. In the end, having a local supply chain will be more of a PR move from Apple and other tech companies rather than a solution, as the Cupertino firm is focusing on other Asian countries to mass produce its devices.
TSMC founder Chang has confirmed that TSMC will bring the latest 3-nm chip production to the U.S. but also said that manufacturing in the U.S. will be 50% more expensive than in Taiwan. TSMC’s current production base for 3-nm chips is in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, where production using the technology only recently began.
BGR will keep reporting as we learn more about this future TSMC plant in Arizona.