《TAIPEI TIMES》 Chip firms to invest US$210bn globally
A semiconductor wafer at the TSMC Museum of Innovation in Hsinchu City is pictured on April 18. Photo: Bloomberg
LOCAL INDUSTRY SAFE: Despite global expansion plans, 90% of Taiwanese IC suppliers’ production would stay in Taiwan, the National Development Council minister said
/ Staff writer, with CNA
Taiwan’s semiconductor firms are expected to invest US$210 billion over the next five years to cement the country’s lead over its peers in the global IC market, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin （龔明鑫） said on Friday.
Digital transformation in the high-tech sector had become an irreversible international trend, Kung told an investment forum on business start-ups.
The government would continue to encourage the local semiconductor industry to invest by providing incentives under the Statute for Industrial Innovation （產業創新條例）, Kung said.
Taiwanese semiconductor firms are expected to move their investments out of the China due to a restructuring of global supply chains amid escalating trade frictions between the US and China, he said.
“It is estimated that the local semiconductor industry will invest US$210 billion globally over the next five years to lay a good foundation for future development,” he said.
Citing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co （TSMC, 台積電） chairman Mark Liu （劉德音）, Kung said the global semiconductor industry would experience a golden era over the next one to two decades.
TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is investing US$40 billion to build two advanced wafer fabs in Arizona: One is expected to start commercial production in 2025 and the other in 2026.
TSMC is also spending ￥37.8 billion （US$252.9 million） to build a fab in Kumamoto, Japan, through a joint venture. It is scheduled to begin production next year.
The company’s board has also approved a plan to form a joint venture to set up a wafer fab in Dresden, Germany.
TSMC has said it plans to invest up to 3.499 billion euros （US$3.8 billion） for a 70 percent stake in the new company, with mass production scheduled to start at the end of 2027.
TSMC’s global expansion has prompted its suppliers to follow suit, including Marketech International Corp （帆宣）, a facility monitor control system provider, which said it already has a team in the US and is planning to expand its presence there because of TSMC’s Arizona project.
In addition, automated equipment supplier Mirle Automation Corp （盟立） said it wants to stay geographically close to TSMC to be able to provide it with timely services, while IC packaging and testing services provider ASE Technology Holding Co （日月光投控） is studying possible investments in the US.
Taiwan-based GlobalWafers Co （環球晶圓）, the world’s third-largest silicon wafer maker, late last year began construction of a 12-inch silicon wafer plant in Texas at a cost of US$5 billion, with the aim of beginning mass production next year.
In response to concerns that an increase in overseas investment would affect the local IC industry, Kung said that Taiwanese semiconductor firms are expected to develop the sophisticated 3-nanometer process or more advanced technologies at home.
Regarding mature processes, Taiwanese semiconductor IC suppliers would take into account the needs of their clients by relocating resources to other countries such as Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, as more countries believe semiconductors are relevant to national security, Kung said.
“Global expansion by the local semiconductor industry is expected to strengthen its power, but 90 percent of Taiwanese IC suppliers’ production will stay in Taiwan,” he said.
Changes in the global supply chains are expected to show how critical Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is to the world, but would also test its resilience, Kung said.
To tackle rapidly changing global economic conditions, the government would continue to encourage local and foreign firms to invest in Taiwan and forge closer international partnerships to drive local growth, he said.