TSMC is already looking to the future of microprocessors with plans to build a new factory in Taiwan. The company has announced that it plans to spend $150 billion New Taiwan Dollars (about RM20 billion) on the new facility, and has asked the Taiwanese government to select a suitable location.
TSMC is currently one of the largest microprocessor manufacturers in the world, and supplies Apple with the 16nm processors in the current generation of devices. The company is also working on making 10nm based processors for next year’s iPhone.
However, this new factory will not be ready until 2021; and will likely miss quite a few iPhones in between. Instead, TSMC is looking to use it to produce 5nm and 3nm chips once technology has made it economically viable to do so. In other words, this is simply planning for the future.
It has become increasingly difficult to shrink the die size of processors, and companies have been forced to slow their development cycles. Intel was particularly notable in this aspect as it was forced to switch from a two year cycle of improvement to a three year cycle.
Thus far, TSMC does not yet have a location for the new factory. The ministry of science and technology is considering placing the plant in the southern city of Kaohsiung; although negotiations are still in the early stages.
[Source: Nikkei Asian Review]