Taiwan’s Environmental Review Board has approved TSMC’s plan to build a new fab at the company’s site near Baoshan, Hsinchu County, Taiwan. The fab will use TSMC’s N2 (2 nm) manufacturing process to produce chips, and when it goes live in a few years, it will become one of the most advanced semiconductor facilities in the world.
“Semiconductor is one of the most important industries for Taiwan’s economic growth,” said Lin Chuannian, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Nikkei“The government will help TSMC achieve its environmental goals while continuing to build advanced technologies.”
TSMC’s first N2 wafer fab in Hsinchu Science Park is expected to be constructed in four phases. According to Nikkei News, TSMC is expected to break ground in early 2022 to build its new 2nm production facility. Under normal circumstances, it takes about a year for a semiconductor company to build a building and then start the equipment relocation process, which again takes about a year.
According to the company’s roadmap, its N2 manufacturing process will be ready for mass production at the end of 2024 or sometime in 2025, when the fab will be ready. As the demand for TSMC’s N2 nodes increases, TSMC will build, equip and increase its facilities in other stages in Hsinchu.
The actual production capacity of the entire fab is unknown, but TSMC usually strives to build so-called GigaFabs, which are factories with a monthly production capacity of more than 100,000 wafers.To meet the needs of its N2 node, TSMC is considering building Additional cutting-edge production facility at another location.
TSMC’s N2 will be the first in the foundry to use gate-all-round (GAA) transistors (in its nanosheet or nanowire implementation) and other innovative manufacturing processes. TSMC did not disclose any details about the technology in its recent technical seminar, which indicates that the technology is either still in pathfinding mode or is evaluating multiple versions of the node.
TSMC recently started building a (5nm) wafer fab to support N5 in Arizona. Although the factory will not use the company’s most advanced nodes when it goes online in 2024, it will become TSMC’s first overseas factory to use advanced manufacturing processes to produce chips in many years. TSMC is also considering building wafer fabs in Japan and Europe to meet the needs of local customers, but these facilities will mainly focus on professional technology.
All the advanced facilities of the Frontier Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. are only built in Taiwan, while the wafer fabs in the United States and China use fairly old nodes. This obviously helps to ensure the geopolitical importance of Taiwan. However, although TSMC has changed its fab strategy to some extent, its leading facilities will still be built in Taiwan, and the authorities are willing to help the world’s largest semiconductor foundry manufacturer.
“It is possible for TSMC to expand its overseas footprint, but from a geopolitical point of view, it is very important for Taiwan to have TSMC build the most advanced technology. [domestically]”,” a government source told Nikkei Asia. “We cannot hinder TSMC’s plan to maintain a competitive advantage. “