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Taiwan’s TSMC considers 3 nm chip facility in Japan

3 nm process fab in Japan would cost around NT$632 billion

TSMC logo. (Reuters photo)

TSMC logo. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is mulling whether to build a third fab in Japan to produce cutting-edge 3-nanometer chips, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday (Nov. 21).

The Taiwanese chipmaker has informed its supply chain partners that it is considering a third facility in Kumamoto Prefecture, sources told Bloomberg. The news organization noted that it is uncertain when building for the third fab would begin.

Building a 3 nm facility would cost around US$20 billion (NT$632 billion), although the exact cost depends on the timing of construction and how it would get land and other materials, per the report. It is also uncertain how much TSMC would put up for the project.

Sources told Bloomberg that when TSMC chose Japan, its initial plans included multiple fabs. Several sources told the outlet that TSMC might possibly build a fourth plant in a prefecture to the north of Kumamoto.

The chipmaker told Bloomberg through email that it is currently focused on the possibility of a second Japanese fab, and that it had no other information to share at this time.

TSMC is building its first Japanese fab that will make 12/16 nm and 22/28 nm chips, which are expected to be ready for mass production in December 2024. Meanwhile, Japanese reports have said TSMC’s second fab in the country is expected to start construction in April 2024 and be ready for commercial production of 12 nm chips in 2026, while Bloomberg said it would be ready by 2025 and produce 5 nm chipTo to expand its international footprint, besides Japan, the world’s largest contract chipmaker is also building fabs in the U.S. and plans to construct one in Germany as well.