TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) could build its first fab in Japan given the Japanese government’s push to improve domestic chip manufacturing.
Japanese news outlet Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun first reported the Taiwanese company was thinking about setting up a foundry in Japan last month. TSMC is considering a facility in Kumamoto Prefecture, four sources told Nikkei.
The fab would be close to a plant owned by Sony, a TSMC customer, to help address the growing demand for image sensors, car microcontrollers, and other chips, the sources said. One source told the outlet that TSMC had been approached by the Japanese government about the facility.
However, the Taiwanese company has not fully committed to the plan yet. The proposal calls for a 12-inch fab that can produce 28 to 16-nanometer chips.
Two sources said that in order to avoid conflicts of interest, TSMC would most likely run the plant independently. If built, the fab would be TSMC’s first chip plant in Japan. Japanese companies accounted for 4.7 percent of TSMC’s 2020 revenue, according to Nikkei.
TSMC announced in February that it would be setting up a research and development center in Japan focused on 3D packing technology. Construction of a trial facility is set to begin this summer at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, with R&D slated to begin sometime in 2022.