Over 20 Wafer Fabs Worldwide to Be Completed Year by Year, Will TSMC Establish a New 7nm Production Line in Japan?

2023-07-12 Semiconductors editor

According to sources cited by Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, TSMC intends to commence the construction of the second fab in Kikuyo-cho, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, in April 2024, with the goal of commencing production before the end of 2026.

It is worth mentioning that news about TSMC’s plan to build its second fab in Japan had already surfaced earlier this year. In January, TSMC’s CEO, CC Wei, revealed that the company was considering establishing a second chip manufacturing facility in Japan. In June, TSMC’s Chairman, Mark Liu, also mentioned during a shareholders’ meeting that the Japanese government expressed a desire for TSMC to continue expanding its investments in Japan, while TSMC was still evaluating the construction of the second fab in the country.

Regarding TSMC’s establishment of a fab in Japan, TrendForce indicated that TSMC has played an instrumental role in fostering the growth of Japan’s semiconductor industry as Japanese fabs are unable to handle manufacturing processes as advanced as 1Xnm. TrendForce posits that TSMC could potentially consider setting up a 7nm production line in Phase 2 of JASM to cater to Japan’s demand for advanced technology. Yet, the ongoing market slowdown necessitates a long-term appraisal before implementing any expansion strategies.

In addition to TSMC, more than 20 new wafer fabs are scheduled for completion in the coming years, despite the industry being in a downturn. According to TrendForce’s statistics report in January this year, there are over 20 planned new wafer fabs worldwide, including 5 in Taiwan, 5 in the United States, 6 in Mainland China, 4 in Europe, and 4 in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore combined.

Furthermore, numerous new wafer fab projects have been announced globally since the beginning of this year. For example, in February, Infineon and Texas Instruments both announced plans to construct new wafer fabs. Infineon plans to invest 5 billion euros to build a 12-inch wafer fab in Germany, while Texas Instruments intends to establish its second 300mm wafer fab in Lehi, Utah, USA. On July 5th, PSMC signed an agreement with SBI of Japan, proposing the establishment of a 12-inch wafer foundry.

Currently, semiconductor resources have become strategic assets. In addition to considering commercial and cost structures, wafer fabs must also account for government subsidy policies, meet customer demands for local production, and maintain supply-demand balance. TrendForce believes that future product diversity and pricing strategies will be key factors for the operation of wafer fabs.