Apple partner TSMC to reportedly build 5nm chip factory in Arizona

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2020
Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is set to announce that it plans to build an advanced chip factory in Arizona.

TSMC's headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
TSMC's headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan.


Taiwan-based TSMC is the world's largest contract manufacturer of silicon chipsets and has long been Apple's primary supplier of A-series chips.

Now, TSMC is said to be on the verge of announcing new plans to build out an advanced 5-nanometer facility in Arizona, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The decision, reached by TSMC executives at a board meeting in Taiwan on Tuesday, could be announced as soon as Friday.

TSMC's new factory could be up and running by 2023, sources told the WSJ, adding that the U.S. departments of State and Commerce were involved in the plans. It's currently unclear if the company will receive financial incentives from the U.S., though a factory producing 5nm chips could cost more than $10 billion.

Apple is expected to move to 5nm processors with "iPhone 12" this year, later expanding utilization to other products like iPad and, for the first time, the Mac lineup.

News of the plans come as the U.S. grows more concerned about its reliance on supply chain infrastructure in Taiwan, China and South Korea for electronics and technology production.

On Monday, the Trump Administration was said to be discussing the possibility of building out chip fabrication plants in the U.S. with companies like TSMC and Intel.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,324member
    Fabulous news.

    Thus starts the flood...
    christophbSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 13
    red oakred oak Posts: 934member
    Awesome 

    I’ll use this as an opp to give a big “ F*** Y** ” to Samsung and all the US employees who work for that criminal organization 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    It’s a start, the USA will finally get back a piece the industry they invented, albeit owned by a Chinese company! — but at least within US borders. It’s too bad a consortium of US companies can’t join to create a factory (like the old Motorola/IBM/Apple PowerPC initiative). 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    I’ll believe it when I see it... or when Foxconn actually starts operations in Wisconsin. 
    mdriftmeyerronnflyingdpmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    This is all lip service and I don't blame then one bit. We have piss poor advanced manufacturing training in the US, period. They have zero interest in spending billions to get White Americans interested in the world of fab assembly they way they do it. They also have zero interest in having Intel or others poaching and/or vying for trade secrets when they are expanding in Taiwan.

    Trump has zero power to demand US stops manufacturing in China. When he's gone in November none of this will be news anymore.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,187member
    Fatman said:
    It’s a start, the USA will finally get back a piece the industry they invented, albeit owned by a Chinese company! — but at least within US borders. It’s too bad a consortium of US companies can’t join to create a factory (like the old Motorola/IBM/Apple PowerPC initiative). 
    Motorola killed that whole initiative. The head of Motorola despised Apple and wanted very badly to have Microsoft write Windows for PPC. There was a beta for it, but Microsoft had already partnered with x86 companies like Intel, AMD and Cyrex. So Motorola switched up and made PPC for embedded electronics like appliances and automobiles. 

    That left IBM which promised Apple that they could produce faster chips to keep up with Intel, but couldn’t deliver. This was when Steve came back and was trying to keep the Mac relevant. He ended up dumping IBM to go intel. 

    I believe this incident was one of the catalysts for Apple to start making their own chips. The other was Intel’s inability to make a sufficient chip for a portable device that would end up being an iPad and iPhone. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,250member
    It’s not that the US doesn’t have a big presence in semiconductors, with companies like Applied Materials (AMAT) being a crucial, influential and profitable supplier of underlying enabling technology. The situation is really no different than what we see with Apple. The high cost per employee jobs are firmly rooted in the US and the lower cost (but still skilled) manufacturing jobs are outsourced to wherever the manufacturer can get favorable terms in the whole supply chain and the required volume of skilled work force. 

    The US can only solve this problem by positioning itself compete economically and skills wise on a level playing field and without politically tenuous government subsidies. At best these subsidies only provide temporary compensation for competitive shortcomings. 

    The whole notion of having to plead with foreign companies to charitably rescue US jobs by building and staffing a plant in the US at their expense really highlights how far the US has fallen in terms of production leadership. It’s the exact opposite of how US companies go into Asian markets, and especially China. If you’re a US product designer you’ll have your pick of Chinese manufacturers willing to build a factory and staff it with skilled workers to get your production done in their factory with terms that ensure a high ROI for your business. 
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    doggonedoggone Posts: 322member
    TSMC would have been a good company for Apple to buy a while ago.  They have been a reliable partner for Apple for many years and has the expertise in chip manufacturing.  The market cap is now around 250BB so probably out of range for Apple even with their cash on hand. 
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,581member
    This is all lip service and I don't blame then one bit. We have piss poor advanced manufacturing training in the US, period. They have zero interest in spending billions to get White Americans interested in the world of fab assembly they way they do it. They also have zero interest in having Intel or others poaching and/or vying for trade secrets when they are expanding in Taiwan.

    Trump has zero power to demand US stops manufacturing in China. When he's gone in November none of this will be news anymore.
    "We have piss poor advanced manufacturing training in the US, period." => With a lot of manufacturing having been off-shored over the last 2.5 decades there hasn't exactly been a lot of incentive to invest in advanced manufacturing training.  But it's never too late to change that.

    "
    When he's gone in November none of this will be news anymore" => You mean IF he's gone.  The last election so many people thought he would lose and we know how that turned out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,227member
    I would imagine this will be heavily subsidised if it goes ahead.

    It might make sense for defence contracts - but at a price (although defence budgets are fairly accommodating to the sums involved). As for everything else, and I guess 5G IoT is the main target looking forward, it's difficult to see how they can keep prices competitive against Asian manufacturing unless TSMC plans to distribute costs back across its other operations which would also make it less competitive in the long run (most IoT chips are either on 12nm or 14nm at the moment). 

    It is not difficult to imagine legislation forcing manufacturers to use IoT chips fabbed on U.S soil for any IoT devices sold within the U.S but the economics look touch with competitiveness in mind. 




    edited May 2020 lkrupp
  • Reply 11 of 13
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 875member
    Fatman said:
    It’s a start, the USA will finally get back a piece the industry they invented, albeit owned by a Chinese company! — but at least within US borders. It’s too bad a consortium of US companies can’t join to create a factory (like the old Motorola/IBM/Apple PowerPC initiative). 
    Motorola killed that whole initiative. The head of Motorola despised Apple and wanted very badly to have Microsoft write Windows for PPC. There was a beta for it, but Microsoft had already partnered with x86 companies like Intel, AMD and Cyrex. So Motorola switched up and made PPC for embedded electronics like appliances and automobiles. 

    That left IBM which promised Apple that they could produce faster chips to keep up with Intel, but couldn’t deliver. This was when Steve came back and was trying to keep the Mac relevant. He ended up dumping IBM to go intel. 

    I believe this incident was one of the catalysts for Apple to start making their own chips. The other was Intel’s inability to make a sufficient chip for a portable device that would end up being an iPad and iPhone. 
    Nice story. I had an interview with Apple's PowerBook team a few years after Steve came back to Apple I will never forget one of the questions she asked me "if you could change one thing about Apple what would it be?" And I said, point blank, "Ditch AIM."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,681member
    I really think this is important for US national security. It's also good for TSMC and Taiwan. 

    The PLA is a present and growing danger. 

    Of course, the real shame of it all is how Intel so totally dropped the ball and ceded US leadership in fab tech. I think it all goes back to their failure to win Apple's iPhone SOC business. The chip business is all about economies of scale. Intel missed out on a market far larger than the PC market. Andy Grove's mantra "only the paranoid survive" has been replaced with "only the complacent maximize margins" 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    This is all lip service and I don't blame then one bit. We have piss poor advanced manufacturing training in the US, period. They have zero interest in spending billions to get White Americans interested in the world of fab assembly they way they do it. They also have zero interest in having Intel or others poaching and/or vying for trade secrets when they are expanding in Taiwan.

    Trump has zero power to demand US stops manufacturing in China. When he's gone in November none of this will be news anymore.
    Quite the racist rant there and all completely wrong, of course.
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