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Appeared on: Monday, March 20, 2017
TSMC May Build 3nm Chip Foundry In The U.S.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has enlisted the US as an optional location to build a new manufacturing fab for production of 3nm chips, amid President Donald Trump's push to create more jobs.

According to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report, TSMC has been giving the priority to Taiwan as the production site for its advanced 3nm process and has been seeking assistance from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to acquire a land lot of 50-80 hectare to build the plant. The MOST has promised to allocate a lot of 50 hectare in Kaohsiung Science Park (KSP) in southern Taiwan to meet TSMC's demand.

However, considering that an environmental protection evaluation of the planned site in the KSP may not complete by 2022, in which TSMC plans to kick off volume production of 3nm chips, TSMC thus has begun to ponder an alternative site, said the paper.

In January, TSMC Chairman Morris Chang had said the company did not rule out the idea of building a U.S. foundry.

The report also said TSMC was considering a T$500 billion ($16.41 billion) investment for the plant.

"We won't make a decision until next year," TSMC spokesperson Michael Kramer said. The company currently gets about 65 percent of its total revenue from the United States.

TSMC currently operates a U.S. foundry subsidiary.

The consideration for a U.S. plant comes at a time when TSMC is reportedly looking at investing in Toshiba's chip business. The number of interested parties, which already include semiconductor makers and investments funds, may increase beyond the current 10 and the Japanese company expects final bids by March 29. Western Digital Corp., SK Hynix Inc., Foxconn Technology Group, Micron Technology Inc. and Kingston Technology Co. are among those interested, according to reports, while Foxconn founder Terry Gou is also very positive in making a bid for Toshiba's memory chip business.

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