TSMC Begins Mass Production Of 3nm Chips In Taiwan

Mass production of the most advanced chips begins in Taiwan, underlining the island’s importance to global supply of chips

Taiwanese chipmaking giant TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd) has started mass production of its most advanced chips in southern Taiwan on Thursday.

Reuters reported the company’s chairman Mark Liu as saying that TSMC would continue to expand capacity on the island, as it begins 3 nanometre chip production there.

Last month in November TSMC founder Morris Chang had also announced that his firm planned to bring its most advanced 3 nanometre manufacturing process to its new factory in Arizona.

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Taiwan production

Chang at the time said the 3nm process would be brought to Arizona along with the less-advanced 5nm process that TSMC has said it initially plans to use there, although he said the plans had not been finalised.

But now according to Reuters, mass production of 3nm chips in southern Taiwan has begun.

TSMC of course is the world’s largest contract chip maker and it has a dominant position as a maker of advanced chips used in technology from mobile phones to fighter jets.

“TSMC is maintaining its technology leadership while investing significantly in Taiwan, continuing to invest and prosper with the environment,” TSMC Chairman Mark Liu was quoted by Reuters as telling a ceremony marking the production and capacity expansion in the southern city of Tainan.

Liu said demand for the firm’s 3-nanometre chip was “very strong”, driven by new technologies including 5G and high-performance computing products.

The Taiwanese company is currently building a chip plant in Japan and this week has said it is in the early stages of reviewing a potential expansion into Germany.

In an apparent response to the concerns that TSMC’s foreign investment would undermine Taiwan’s key position in semiconductors, Liu said the production was a demonstration that TSMC was “taking concrete action to develop advanced technology and expand capacity in Taiwan.”

China tensions

Taiwan’s government has dismissed concerns about a “goodbye to Taiwan” trend for the chip industry, saying the island’s position as a major semiconductor producer and maker of the most advanced chips is secure.

Liu reportedly said the mass production was successful and with good yields, adding that the new 3-nanometre technology would create end products with a market value of $1.5 trillion within five years.

TSMC was quoted by Reuters as saying it was already working to build factories for the next generation 2-nanometre chips, which were planned to be manufactured in northern and central Taiwan.

TSMC has repeatedly said that the bulk of its manufacturing will remain in Taiwan.

Taiwan invasion?

It comes amid growing tensions between Taiwan, the US and China, with the latter making it clear that it regards Taiwan as a breakaway region, not a separate nation.

China under President Xi Jinping has in recent years dramatically stepped the rhetoric about Taiwan, and he has previously said that “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”.

In August TSMC chairman Mark Liu warned about the likely impact on the world’s supply of semiconductors, if China were to invade Taiwan.

If China were to invade Taiwan, the most-advanced chip factory in the world would be rendered “not operable,” Liu said at the time.

Liu also said an invasion of the island would cause economic turmoil for China, Taiwan and Western nations.

In October Liu admitted tensions between Taiwan and the US with China poses “serious challenges” for chip industry.