Taiwan chipmaker plans to build $12 billion plant in Phoenix, create more than 1,600 jobs

27 | 05 | 2020

A Taiwan-based maker of silicon chips intends to build a major manufacturing plant in Phoenix that could bring more than 1,600 jobs, Gov. Doug Ducey confirmed late Thursday.

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract manufacturer of silicon chips, approved the plan for the semiconductor facility earlier this week. The company hasn’t selected a location; it is still evaluating several sites, Ducey said in the statement released by his office.

The project will create more than 1,600 jobs “and generate thousands of additional jobs in the state for suppliers and other companies within the semiconductor industry,” the statement said.

TSMC’s total spending on this project, including capital expenditure, will be approximately $12 billion from 2021 to 2029, according to the Governor’s Office.

The Arizona facility would be TSMC’s second manufacturing site in the United States. The company currently operates a semiconductor plant in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas and San Jose, Calif.

News of the plant had been reported earlier Thursday by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. The company manufactures chips for Apple iPhones, and Apple is one of TSMC’s largest customers, according to their reports about the deal.

“This U.S. facility not only enables us to better support our customers and partners, it also gives us more opportunities to attract global talents,” TSMC said in a statement.

Ducey’s statement was released a few hours after The Arizona Republic inquired about the project. Ducey said the Arizona Commerce Authority is working with the city of Phoenix and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to assist TSMC as it finalizes all aspects of the project.

“TSMC could have picked any place in the world to build this advanced manufacturing factory. They chose Arizona for our unbeatable business climate, already thriving tech sector and ready access to an international supply chain,” Ducey said in a prepared statement.

“I’d like to thank TSMC Chairman Dr. Mark Liu for his commitment to Arizona. We are honored to be selected for this project and look forward to building a collaborative long-term relationship with TSMC,” Ducey said.

Construction is planned to begin in 2021, with production targeted to start in 2024. The Arizona facility will be the second such operation for the company.

The facility will use TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology for semiconductor wafer fabrication and have the capacity to produce 20,000 wafers per month, the governor’s statement said.

The governor also thanked the Trump administration and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in the statement.

“I’m very grateful to President Donald Trump for his leadership and tireless efforts to bring more manufacturing back to our shores,” Ducey said.

Mayor Kate Gallego applauded the company’s decision in a tweet, saying the city was ”thrilled” to continue working with the company and citing the economic impact.

Arizona already is home to Intel, one of the world’s largest chip manufacturers, with major production facilities in Chandler.

Apple operates a 1.3 million-square-foot data center in east Mesa that employs about 150 people. It is among roughly a half-dozen such centers that store data from users of Apple products and their applications.

Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, said in a statement: “The Arizona Commerce Authority is incredibly honored that following a competitive process, Arizona has been selected by TSMC for its new U.S. manufacturing operation. We thank Chairman Liu for his confidence in our state and Governor Ducey for his continued strong leadership.

“We look forward to advancing our relationship with the company in partnership with Secretary Ross and his team at the U.S. Department of Commerce including SelectUSA,” which facilitates job-creating business investment in the United States.

“We are unable to comment further as this is an active economic development project. Additional information will be provided once all aspects of this project are finalized.”

The announcement was the second big economic development announcement of the day for the Phoenix area. Earlier Thursday, Zoom Video Communications said it planned to hire up to 500 engineers over the next few years for two new research and development centers in the Phoenix and Pittsburgh metro areas, roughly splitting the jobs between the two locations.

Zoom is looking for space near the Tempe campus of Arizona State University and Carnegie Mellon University in the Pittsburgh area. Currently, Zoom’s R&D staff is based at the company’s headquarters in San Jose, California.

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