Earlier this week, chipmaker TSMC-Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which produces processors for Apple, Qualcomm and AMD, among many other industry giants, announced a serious increase in spending on both facilities and research.
The total investment totals about $100 billion, estimated at $30 billion plus each year for the next three years. This represents an increase of approximately 43% from capital expenditures of $17.2 billion in 2020 and $3.72 billion in research and development.
The capital investment will go in part to several new facilities:
- A 5nm-compatible fab in Arizona slated to come online in 2024
- A 3nm capable fab in Tainan, Taiwan, scheduled to come online in Q2 2022
- A 2nm compatible “GigaFab” in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and possibly another one in Baoshan
- Two New Advanced Packaging Facilities in Taiwan
The expansion is critical as TSMC has not been able to meet the rising demand for chips despite the current factories being 100% utilised. It is also critical to the global economy – while TSMC is still unable to fully meet demand, rival foundries GlobalFoundries and UMC have halted development of their own advanced manufacturing processes, effectively pushing them out of that market.
Although UMC has halted research into leading processes, it is still in growth mode – yesterday it announced expansion and increased investment in its foundries in Tainan, primarily aimed at increasing its capacity to produce less expensive 28nm chips. While performance-critical applications such as smartphones and PCs have moved away from the 28nm process, it remains important in less demanding embedded devices such as smart TVs and set-top boxes.