Back in January, Taiwan’s Economics Ministry announced the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) would begin prioritizing the production of auto chips if it could further increase capacity. TSMC Chairman Mark Liu has since projected the chipmaker will be able to meet its “minimum requirement” for customers before the end of June.
Speaking at a Council of the Americas event on Tuesday, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo claimed Washington is advocating for American automobile manufacturers in conversations with the Taiwanese government and chipmakers like TSMC – the world’s contract chipmaker.
“As I said there’s not a day goes by that we don’t push on that.”
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 7, 2021
Raimondo’s comments come two days after TSMC Chairman Liu was featured in a “60 Minutes” broadcast on CBS. Liu said the Taiwan-based chipmaker first heard about the US’ auto chip shortage in December, and has been working since January to meet the increased demand.
“Today, we think we are two months ahead, that we can catch up the minimum requirement of our customers, before the end of June,” Liu said, emphasizing that this does not mean the auto chip shortage will end during the same period.
According to the official, the US should spend more money on research and development (R&D), and be more open to global cooperation when it comes to semiconductors.
“I think [the] U.S. ought to pursue to run faster, to invest in R&D, to produce more Ph.D., master, bachelor students to get into this manufacturing field instead of trying to move the supply chain, which is very costly and really non productive,” he said. “That will slow down the innovation because– people trying to hold on their technology to their own and forsake the global collaboration.”
Intel’s newest factory, Fab 42, became fully operational in 2020 on the company’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona. Fab 42 produces microprocessors using the company’s 10nm manufacturing processes. In March 2021, Intel announced a $20 billion investment to build out two new factories (or “fabs”) on the Ocotillo campus. The company expects to begin planning and construction activities this year.
“Intel is the only company with the depth and breadth of software, silicon and platforms, packaging, and process with at-scale manufacturing customers can depend on for their next-generation innovations. IDM 2.0 is an elegant strategy that only Intel can deliver – and it’s a winning formula,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in a quoted statement.
Shortly after Intel’s announcement, TSMC announced plans to invest $100 billion in advanced chip research and development over the next three years.
Citing three people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported on Tuesday that TSMC is planning to build five additional fabs.
“The United States requested it. Internally TSMC is planning to build up to six fabs,” one person said.
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