A member of the board at TSMC has echoed calls from Intel and other semiconductor companies for Congress to reach a swift agreement on the CHIPS Act, which is set to unlock $52 billion in federal funding.
Ming-Hsin Kung, who is also a minister in the Taiwanese government, said in an interview that the pace with which TSMC is able to build its new fabrication facility in Arizona, USA will depend on the ready availability of subsidies.
“TSMC has already begun their [sic] construction in Arizona, basically because of trust. They believe the CHIPS Act will be passed by the Congress,” he explained.
The CHIPS Act is a piece of US legislation that aims to fund the onshoring of a larger proportion of the semiconductor supply chain in the face of rising tensions with China and continued stock shortages. As it stands, just over 10% of chips (which feature in a diverse range of products, beyond just PCs, smartphones, workstations and servers) are currently manufactured in the US.
Once passed, the act will unlock tens of billions of dollars in funding for semiconductor research and manufacturing, much of which will land in the pockets of companies like Intel and TSMC. The US House and Senate have agreed on the importance of the legislation, but have been slow to iron out the specifics.
Speaking to the press last month at Intel Vision 2022, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger explained the company’s current development projects are “either on track or ahead of schedule”. However, he also warned that the CHIPS Act is necessary to “accelerate the industry”.
“It’s super important for the US House and Senate to finish the CHIPS Act. Just get that freakin’ thing done,” he said.
Since then, Intel has repeatedly reiterated its frustrations with the delay, going as far as to postpone the development of its 1000-acre “mega-site” in Ohio, USA, which the company says is reliant on government subsidy.
In a thinly veiled threat, Intel also said it is considering directing funds towards Europe instead, if delays are to continue. “The rest of the world is moving rapidly, despite the inability of Congress to get this finished,” said Gelsinger at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
It appears TSMC remains committed to pursuing its new Arizona campus, going as far as to send local engineers back to Taiwan for training, but the company has also said it is reliant on the US government to cover the difference in operating costs between the two countries.
Without subsidies provided under the CHIPS Act, the facility could become a significant loss-leader for the firm.