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TSMC holds job fair in NY, fueling rumors of new US chip fab for Apple

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. recently held a job fair in upstate New York, helping to drive up expectations that the chipmaker is planning to open a chip fabrication plant in the area to build mobile processors for Apple.

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TSMC's recruitment was heavily centered around the Fishkill, N.Y., area, Jagadish Iyer of Piper Jaffray revealed in a note to investors provided to AppleInsider on Tuesday. He believes that's an ideal area, because IBM is at work in the area on advanced chip technology using sub-20-nanometer processes.

If TSMC is in fact looking to set up shop in the U.S., Iyer believes that a key reason for this move would be Apple. After years of rumors, Apple finally inked a deal with TSMC in June to begin building mobile chips in 2014, a move that could allow it to reduce reliance on rival Samsung.

"With Apple's supply chain for processors shifting to TSMC from Samsung, we believe Apple could better monitor its supply chain while de-risking itself," Iyer wrote. "Though press reports have surfaced recently on Apple trying to secure a wafer fab, our checks do indicate that Apple has been hiring a number of process technologists in chip manufacturing."

He believes Apple could provide financial assistance to TSMC for building a U.S.-based factory, and in return the chipmaker would have a line dedicated to Apple. This would give Apple the ability to actively monitor progress while leaving day-to-day management to the chip experts at TSMC.

Iyer's checks indicate the engineers hired initially from TSMC's job fair will likely start in Taiwan initially. But he sees the company's recruitment in the area as a sign that it is eyeing a newer facility in New York as a viable option.

"We saw a parallel when Global Foundries announced a major fab in Malta, New York and a sizable number of employees were stationed in Dresden before they moved back to Malta," Iyer wrote. "Further, with the state of N.Y. providing incentives to Global Foundries in its new fab, we are also likely to see some form of similar assistance to TSMC as its embarks on this endeavor."

Details were first revealed last December regarding "top secret" plans for a new chip factory in upstate New York. At the time, the state was said to be bidding on a mysterious project identified only as "Azalea," said to be tied to a major Apple supplier.

Currently, Apple's A-series chips for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV are built by Samsung in Austin, Tex. But Samsung is also Apple's chief rival, and fierce competition along with dozens of patent infringement lawsuits have driven a wedge between the two companies.
post #2 of 15
That area in NY needs this kind of investment and facility. It would be great for the NY, and the US economy.
post #3 of 15
Just buy the damn company and be done with it!
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #4 of 15
Buying the company could be an option. Apple may want to keep their options open as well. Remember owning a company means you are responsible for it and if it starts failing then the cost is on you. Just asking M$ and Google how their bought companies are doing.

Apple like to buy smaller companies with mostly intellectual property and skill sets. Buying a manufacturer includes a lot of overhead.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Just buy the damn company and be done with it!

That's not always the best way to go. Look at Virgin; they've tried 'to do it all' but found out some things are better left to companies that have solid experience in their field, and outsourcing isn't a bad thing. Can't find a link, but I remember it from his autobio.

Apple themselves have build in the US, during Steve's first stint, and that factory was painted blue per Apple's wish, causing problems. Happened again at NeXT.
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"Fibonacci: As easy as 1, 1, 2, 3..."
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post #6 of 15
Fish Kill, NY is not anywhere near Upstate NY!
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by raphoroni View Post

Fish Kill, NY is not anywhere near Upstate NY!


You guys really need to sort out what you consider up and down. 1tongue.gif

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by raphoroni View Post

Fish Kill, NY is not anywhere near Upstate NY!

 

Yah, but they are intertwined.  NY gives great deals to chipmakers building in NY.  I think NY taxpayers ended up subsidizing the IBM Fishkill plant by $300mil to $600mil to entice IBM to build there.  That's where Apple would be recruiting to get the people with skills they need.  Where they would likely *build* a new plant is in upstate NY near Malta- where Global Foundries built a big fab (again heavily subsidized by NY).

 

So TSMC is likely feeling out NY to see how much they can get the taxpayers to chip in to help them build a plant for Apple.

 

Interesting to see how this goes.

If their need is immediate/short, I wouldn't be surprised if TSMC buys out IBM's semiconductor division and just buys out the Fishkill plant.  Manufacturing isn't IBM's core business and they have to be asking themselves why they even have a microelectronics manufacturing division.

 

If they are going to go whole hog and build a new facility, does right now make sense to build a new 300mm facility just as the industry is starting to push toward the 'next big thing' in 450mm equipment.   That would be a big move for Apple/TSMC, and they could claim they were 'first' -even though they really wouldn't be, but that's never stopped them before :p  Everyone else who does 450mm after that would be copying Apple.  It almost makes more sense for them to go 450mm because once vendors retool equipment to new sizes that's where all the R&D goes.  200mm development was dropped like a hot potato once the industry shifted to 300mm.


Edited by Frood - 7/30/13 at 9:08am
post #9 of 15
I still dont get the thing about Building Fabs in US. Having a dedicated Fabs in Taiwan, would do the same Job. Assembly of the Final product is done in China, or anywhere else since transportation cost per Unit for SoC are minimal.

And it is not once TSMC has a Fab in US for Apple, Apple will be using it the Fab solely. To balance out the old node, new node and yield Apple would still needs some chips from TSMC Taiwan. The protection of IP argument doesn't make sense as well since TSMC will be handling most of the operation anyway.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I still dont get the thing about Building Fabs in US. Having a dedicated Fabs in Taiwan, would do the same Job. Assembly of the Final product is done in China, or anywhere else since transportation cost per Unit for SoC are minimal.

And it is not once TSMC has a Fab in US for Apple, Apple will be using it the Fab solely. To balance out the old node, new node and yield Apple would still needs some chips from TSMC Taiwan. The protection of IP argument doesn't make sense as well since TSMC will be handling most of the operation anyway.

 

I think some of it is a diversity argument - if you put all your fabs in one basket, you could be exposed to greater risk due to political changes, exchange rate fluctuations, regulatory changes, natural disasters, etc...  Also, New York probably has a lot of engineering talent which can be tapped, due to the long history of fabs in the area. And there is the marketing appeal - Apple has gotten a lot of flak over parts of its production chain being outside of the US, building more parts in the US could help that.

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I still dont get the thing about Building Fabs in US. Having a dedicated Fabs in Taiwan, would do the same Job. Assembly of the Final product is done in China, or anywhere else since transportation cost per Unit for SoC are minimal.

And it is not once TSMC has a Fab in US for Apple, Apple will be using it the Fab solely. To balance out the old node, new node and yield Apple would still needs some chips from TSMC Taiwan. The protection of IP argument doesn't make sense as well since TSMC will be handling most of the operation anyway.

 

 

Could be a few reasons.  Bad PR for Apple... Apples chips are currently built by Samsung in the US Austin plant.  These are some pretty high quality jobs.  When they shut down the plants in Austin to move the jobs overseas to Taiwan it would get publicity simply because it is Apple.

 

The other is many government contracts have tight stipulations that processors be manufactured in the US for US government contracts.  The NSA wants to make sure it can spy on us instead of foreign powers (especially ones with a population segment allied strongly with China).

 

It could also give Apple the rights to 'Made in the USA'

post #12 of 15
post #13 of 15

I hear land in Detroit is very cheap these days :) 

post #14 of 15
Well I wouldn't build in New York because the business climate sucks and the politicians will screw TSMC over once the plant is up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I still dont get the thing about Building Fabs in US. Having a dedicated Fabs in Taiwan, would do the same Job. Assembly of the Final product is done in China, or anywhere else since transportation cost per Unit for SoC are minimal.
Manufacturing is global. More importantly this allows TSMC to tap into talent developed in a different way. In the case of chips, the plant staff isn't a significant cost concern anywhere in the world. Automation is part of that low labor cost profile but the other thing is the expensive equipment that just doesn't last.
Quote:
And it is not once TSMC has a Fab in US for Apple, Apple will be using it the Fab solely.
You don't know that. The fab could be a general purpose plant for all we know. In fact it has been implied that TSMC has no intention of building a plant just for Apple.
Quote:
To balance out the old node, new node and yield Apple would still needs some chips from TSMC Taiwan. The protection of IP argument doesn't make sense as well since TSMC will be handling most of the operation anyway.
Apple already has TSMC making chips for it in Taiwan via third party suppliers. I'm not sure how this is any different than the current situation, Apple buys chips from around the world now.

As for arguments about IP there has been nothing yet to indicate that Samsung has run off with any of Appples processor IP. That plant is in the US and is subject to US law. The important thing is exposing your facilities to a wide array of talent.
post #15 of 15
Thanks for the links. The Saratogain does have bit of a cheerleader flavor to its articles but the point is valid there is a lot of support in the area for advance technology industries.
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