The semiconductor factory built by TSMC in Arizona (USA) has begun the final stretch of its fine tuning. At the beginning of last December, the first photolithography equipment from ASML, ASM, Tokyo Electron, Applied Materials or Lam Research, among other suppliers, began to arrive at these facilities, reflecting that the building work is essentially finished. The purpose of this company is start chip production in 2024and it looks like he’s going to get it.
However, your bet does not end here. Mark Liu, the chairman of TSMC, confirmed that it plans to build a second plant designed to produce cutting-edge chips along with the one it already has in Arizona. The latter will have lithographic nodes N5, N5P, N4, N4P and N4X, and the next will start operation in 2026 and will house the N3E nodes that will enable the manufacture of 3nm integrated circuits. At the end of last December, this company started to produce 3nm chips on a large scale in Taiwan.
Commissioning of a second plant will require TSMC to invest in its new Arizona facility no less than 40,000 million, a figure that is almost multiplied by four 12,000 million dollars that it was initially budgeted. Part of this price comes from the cost of the photolithographic equipment needed to manufacture 3nm chips, but there is something very important that is worth not neglecting: the executives of this company have warned on several occasions that the start of semi- outside conductors. in Taiwan is more expensive than doing it in your home country.
TSMC customers will pay up to 30% more for ‘made in USA’ chips
This information has not been officially confirmed by the company led by Mark Liu, but it was collected by DigiTimes Asia, and in this area this medium is very reliable. In addition, he put on the table an open secret in which Morris Chang, the founder of TSMC, was in some way strongly influenced on several occasions. And it is that according to this veteran Taiwanese engineer trained in the United States, the production costs of its plants located outside of Taiwan will double in the future, which will have a direct impact on the price of the chips.
In 2021, nearly 26% of TSMC’s revenue came from Apple, a figure higher than the 5.8% linked to Mediatek.
TSMC currently supports its business on a profit margin of about 53%, and according to Asian media it is not willing to sacrifice it to offer its customers integrated circuits produced inside and outside Taiwan at the same price. DigiTimes’ sources say the cutting-edge chips it will make at its new Arizona plant will between 20 and 30% more expensive than the ICs produced in Taiwan in the equivalent lithographic nodes.
However, they also predict that this company will keep a discount between 20 and 30% of its best customer: Apple. According to Statista, in 2021 almost 26% of TSMC’s revenue came from the company led by Tim Cook, a figure higher than the 5.8% linked to Mediatek, which was its second best customer this year. This figure has hardly changed during 2022, so the importance of Apple in TSMC’s customer portfolio has not changed. In addition, those in Cupertino will be the first to adopt the upcoming integration technologies of the Taiwanese brand.
TSMC’s American customers are now negotiating the price they will have to pay for the company’s chips to be made in their country. According to Asian media, AMD and Qualcomm are considering the possibility of diverting part of the order to Samsung. to keep your costs down, and NVIDIA, it seems, could do the same by relying on Intel when it has its next 2 and 1.8 nm lithographic nodes ready. Make sense. We will see what happens eventually, but everything seems to indicate that during the next few years the competition in the market for the manufacture of cutting-edge semiconductors will be tougher than ever.