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TSMC Raises Investment at CTSP on Environmental Assessment Approval

Feb 17, 2015 | By Ken Liu

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), recognized as the world's biggest pure silicon foundry, has announced scaling up its investment at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) to NT$700 billion (US$22.58 billion) after its NT$500 billion (US$16.12 billion) expansion project at the park passed environmental assessment on Feb. 6.

The project, aiming to expand its Fab 15 wafer fab on 30-plus hectares at the phase-five campus of the park to make 10-nanometer integrated-circuits, had gone through four assessments including the final one on Feb. 6 due to fierce opposition from local environmentalists, to have stalled such assessment the longest in TSMC's history.

Industry executives predict the company's investments at the park to create huge revenues for industries related to chip-making, including capital equipment, testing and packaging, and components and materials.

Taiwan's Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) predicts the investments to attract similar  investments at least 1.5 times to twice such sum.

TSMC says the NT$500 billion project will create 5,000 well-paid jobs for team leader, engineer and technician, not to mention an estimated NT$1 billion (US$32.25 million) in tax revenues for the authorities.

CTSP Administration officials say it will start utility, facility, soil and water conservation projects associated with the TSMC project so as to enable the company to proceed with the investment plan as scheduled.

TSMC plans to move into the campus and begin construction by the end of this March, start up the factory in Q1, 2016, and begin volume production by early 2017, with estimated NT$200 billion (US$6.45 billion) of yearly revenue projected for the factory initially.

The company plans to make Fab 15 its first facility to use 10-nm process technology to make ICs and will turn out 10-nm tape-outs, the final stage of the design cycle for ICs, by the end of this year.

Industry executives feel, with the multibillion investment project having passed environmental assessment, TSMC will be set to sharpen its edge to compete with Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. for supremacy in the global foundry market.

TSMC executives say the company remains the No.1 foundry supplier with unmatched market share in 20-nm process and 16-nm process, which, albeit, still lags in targeted share.

Nevertheless, report has it that TSMC might lose prominent customers like Apple Inc., Qualcomm International Inc., and NVIDIA Corp. to Samsung, which has improved defect-free rate of 14-nm process; while Intel has announced investing US$6 billion to upgrade process technology of its wafer fab in Israel, fueling speculations that the company is developing 10-nm process technology there. To counter such rivalry, TSMC will accelerate its 10-nm process project along with the Fab 15 expansion project.

Industry executives believe the company to designate its CTSP factories the base for making chips on 18-inch wafers in the future.

Chairman Eric Chuo of Hiwin Technologies Corp. points out that the TSMC investment will draw more tech talent to CTSP, thereby benefiting other manufacturers at the park.

Industry executives believe Chuo's company to also benefit from TSMC's investment project for being the world's biggest manufacturer of precision positioning system for chip-making equipment.

On the phase-five campus, bicycle maker Giant Manufacturing Co. is another Taiwanese manufacturer to set up shop to be built on 1.6 hectares.

The new plant campus occupies 54 hectares on a decommissioned military ammunition depot.
(KL)


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