TSMC: Too Early To Consider German Chip Factory

The European Union goal of ramping up chip production within its region is not going to an easy ambition to fulfill it seems.

Earlier this week Nikkei Asia reported that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) was considering building its first European semiconductor plant in Germany.

Chairman Mark Liu said TSMC is engaging in talks with “multiple clients” about the feasibility of building a chip wafer plant in the country.

TSMC Germany

“We’re in the preliminary stage of reviewing whether to go to Germany,” Liu reportedly told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting. “It’s still very early, but we are seriously evaluating it, and [a decision] will depend on our customers’ needs.”

The comments are the latest sign TSMC is shifting away from its decades long approach of concentrating the majority of its chip production in Taiwan, amid a global chip shortage.

Earlier this year TSMC said it would invest $100 billion into manufacturing advanced chips over the next three years, to keep up with rising demand.

The company began construction in June of its $12 billion chip facility in Arizona, and is considering constructing its first-ever wafer plant in Japan.

TSMC is the world’s largest contract chipmaker, but it has been battling fierce demand for chips in the past year.

Disappointed Europeans?

But TSMC was quick to dampen down any excitement of a European factory, when it was quoted on Monday by Reuters as saying that it was too early to say whether it will build factories in Germany and that talks were in early stages.

If this proves to be the case, it could disappoint European officials.

In March the European Union announced it wanted to produce at least 20 percent of the world’s cutting-edge semiconductors by the end of the decade.

That EU plan emphasizes that Europe is focusing on the most advanced semiconductors that are manufactured by only a few companies in the world, including Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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