May 15, 2020

Chip titan TSMC caught in crossfire between US and China

Featuring Martijn Rasser

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

Journalists Cheng Ting-Fang, Lauly Li

Not even the coronavirus pandemic is stopping the vast expansion plans of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

In the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, in tropical sunshine, trucks, excavators and concrete mixers form an endless procession on a 42-hectare construction site, known to the chipmaker as Plant 18. "This will turn into the world's most cutting-edge chip factories. ... It is the largest project our company has ever participated in," an engineer from Fu Tsu Construction, TSMC's construction partner since 1990, told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Plant 18 is where TSMC will soon turn out 5-nanometer chips, the most advanced semiconductors so far, for the next generation of iPhone processor. Later, even smaller 3-nm chips will also be made here. It is part of the company's $40 billion multiyear investment plan -- evidence of the huge price of competing to build ever-faster memory chips for 5G networks and artificial intelligence.

Read the full article and more from Nikkei Asian Review.

Authors

  • Martijn Rasser

    Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Martijn Rasser is a Senior Fellow in the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Prior to joining CNAS, Mr. Rasser served as...