Earlier this month, TSMC held an event to mark the start of construction of a semiconductor plant in Arizona, and today in Taiwan the company celebrated the start of mass production of chips on the island.Notably, such ceremonies are quite unusual for TSMC.According to the publication Focus Taiwan, Taiwan's TSMC today celebrates the beginning of mass production of chips in accordance with the 3-nm process technology.The Fab 18 plant will start producing the latest and most advanced chips on the territory of South Taiwan Science Park in Tainan.It is very important that such celebratory ceremonies are not typical for TSMC.Analysts do not rule out that the manufacturer demonstrates loyalty to its native island amid large-scale investments in the United States.Industry experts say the company is holding the ceremony to show it intends to keep Taiwan as a major hub for chip research, development and manufacturing despite the fact that it is now investing heavily at the other end of the world.Note that Apple will be among the first to receive 3-nm chips.Although Apple is now claiming the A16 chipset is produced according to the 4nm process, in fact TSMC is treating it as a 5nm variant with some refinements.The first 3nm chipsets that will be available in Apple products will be the M2 Pro and M2 Max, which will be shipped to Macs in 2023.TSMC factories in Arizona will produce 4nm chips first and only later will produce 3nm chips.The company's Taiwanese plants will begin producing advanced 3nm products first, with 2nm chipsets due to begin production in 2025.
If the chip production in Taiwan stops completely, the industry will need at least 5 years to recover
The meeting of top political leaders of China and the US was designed to ease tensions in the Taiwan issue.A significant portion of semiconductor components are manufactured in Taiwan, and stability in the region is extremely important for the entire global economy.Some experts believe that in the case of a complete shutdown of Taiwan enterprises, the semiconductor industry will be able to recover only in five years.Image source: TSМSimilar estimates in his interview with Barron's shares the author of the book \"War for chips: the battle for the most important technology in the world\" Chris Miller - Tufts University professor from the United States.In his opinion, the U.S.authorities underestimate the possible consequences of a regional conflict that could put Taiwan`s enterprises out of business.Not only do the island produces up to 90% of advanced semiconductor components, but also the local production volume of chips is so large that no other region in the world can compete with it so far.Up to a third of the annual increase in computing power in the world is provided by Taiwanese enterprises, according to expert estimates.In the professor's opinion, the semiconductor crisis of 2020 and 2021, which paralyzed the work of the global automobile industry, is only a pale shadow of the likely problems that an armed conflict involving Taiwan would cause.Even the PRC's \"nonviolent\" methods of influencing the island's economy can have a significant impact on the determination of Taiwan's leadership to remain independent.By the way, Chris Miller highlights the role of qualified personnel in the formation of the modern semiconductor industry.The same founder of TSMC, Morris Chang, according to the author of the book, is the man to whom the whole world should be grateful for the technology we now have at our disposal.For the United States, however, it is important to maintain a sensible immigration policy, since many of the leaders of major technology corporations are migrant workers or their direct descendants, and their role in shaping U.S.industry and the economy is hard to dispute.
The day before the Taiwanese media reported that TSMC, the largest contract manufacturer of semiconductor components in the world, had already decided on the location for its most advanced facility, which will master the 1N technology production in a few years.As explained by TSMC representatives, no decisions have been made yet.Image source: TSMC According to Focus Taiwan, the original publication of the Commercial Times, citing an anonymous source, mentioned the intention of TSMC to place the new venture in the technology park Xinzhu in northwestern Taiwan.According to official reports, TSMC is undecided on the site and is still in the process of finding a suitable location on the island.As soon as the choice is made, the company promises to make the appropriate announcement.Deputy director of the technology park Xinzhu not commented on rumors about the plans of TSMC, but explained that the resident companies can choose the site in the third area of the park for the construction of production facilities, because the first place is all taken, and the second reserved for recreational areas.It is expected that the company will begin mass production of 3-nm products in the current quarter, and next year revenue from their sales will be as follows Mass production of 2-nm products TSMC will begin in 2025.The company's management did not speak about terms of mastering more advanced lithography at the last quarterly report conference, but in May there was already information about TSMC's readiness to start development of 1.4nm process.
The specifics of U.S.export control requirements are such that authorities may prohibit third countries to cooperate with undesirable counterparties, and in the case of new sanctions against China, U.S.partners may once again drag Taiwan into the orbit of their interests.The island's authorities have already expressed their willingness to help in every way possible to comply with the new U.S.requirements.Source image: UMCWe remind that the U.S.lawmakers ended the week by adopting a new package of sanctions against China.It restricts the supply to China of components for supercomputers of certain performance, equipment for the production of a certain range of chips, as well as components for the creation of such equipment.The list of contractors with dubious reputation includes 31 Chinese companies that the U.S.suspects of using U.S.-origin technology and products for the needs of the Chinese defense industry.Companies have 60 days to pass an audit by U.S.inspectors, and if the latter are not admitted to the industrial facilities of interest, the company will finally be put on the sanctions list.Some market participants now express concern that the activities of major Chinese civilian sector companies - Alibaba and ByteDance, for example - may fall under restrictions by the supercomputer performance criterion.The latter is the owner of the globally popular TikTok service, creating server systems that can approach the \"sanctioned\" ones in terms of their parameters.In fact, the U.S.authorities want to prevent the appearance in China of supercomputers capable of delivering more than 100 petaflops of computing power with a volume of less than 1178 cubic meters.On the one hand, many civilian systems that will be created in China in the next couple of years can fall under this criterion.On the other hand, designers will have an incentive to be flexible in the layout of such systems.For example, the system could be broken down into several smaller nodes that would be separated geographically, but would communicate through a high-speed optical interface.Expressing solidarity with U.S.authorities, Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs officials have shown a willingness to follow the legal requirements of those countries where the headquarters of foreign customers working with Taiwanese companies are located.According to Taiwanese officials, following the law is very important.The biggest contract manufacturers of semiconductor components in Taiwan are TSMC and UMC.They are not able to make personal statements on this issue yet as they are preparing to publish their quarterly reports.However, the example with the U.S.sanctions against Huawei under President Donald Trump shows that TSMC will not hesitate to limit the access of Chinese customers to its services in accordance with the new U.S.requirements.Next week, Taiwan's Minister of Economy Wang Mei-hua will travel to the U.S.to meet with major customers of Taiwanese companies and discuss, among other things, the impact of geopolitical processes on business.
As demand for high-capacity memory modules increases, Taiwan's DRAM chip makers are ramping up production to increase their market share.Winbond Electronics and Nanya Technology are set to open new plants.Image source: Laura Ockel/pixabay.comWinbond will boost production of 2-4Gb chips when it opens its 200mm wafer fab in Kaohsiung in Q4 2022, and Nanya will start building a 200mm wafer fab in New Taipei this month.It's worth noting that vendors will not rush the transition to new memory types, but will ramp up production of DDR3 and DDR4 chips.Although customers who buy legacy DDR3 are expected to gradually transition to DDR4, such a transition can take a long time.Therefore, vendors will be expanding production of DDR3, and only half of the orders in the next two to three years will be shifted to DDR4.DDR3 is still used in many applications from consumer electronics, automotive, networking equipment to handheld devices.In particular, network infrastructure devices and servers are in high demand in 2022.Winbond's new factory in Kaohsiung will initially master the 25nm process technology and will focus on DDR3 production.The company's DDR3 shipments currently account for about 30 percent of its total revenue, but by 2024 that figure could reach 50 percent.According to the company, production at the new factory will increase from 24 thousand plates initially to 34 thousand, and after 2024 - up to 38-40 thousand plates.After 25-nm the company plans to move to 20-nm technology, and begin mass production of products based on it in late 2024 or 2025.At the same time, the manufacturer will be reoriented to the production of DDR4.Nanya plans to start manufacturing of in-house designed 10-nm DDR4 chips that have already passed the pilot 8-Gbit tests.Meanwhile, the company plans to reduce the production of 30-nm DDR3 chips, gradually moving to DDR5.At the moment less than 10% of the company's income comes from the products, corresponding to the 10-nm technology.Nanya will spend about $10.1 billion to build the new factory - the construction kickoff ceremony is scheduled for June 23.The launch of the factory had to be postponed for two or three quarters because of construction problems.Mass production is postponed from 2024 to 2025, at the first stage the factory will produce 45 thousand wafers per month.
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