TSMC: Chip giant delays production in Arizona in blow to Biden

  • By Annabelle Liang
  • Business reporter

image source, Getty Images


President Biden at TSMC’s Arizona factory

Chipmaking giant Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) has delayed the start of production at its factory in the US state of Arizona, in a setback to President Biden’s technology ambitions.

The firm says chip production will no longer start next year, due to a lack of skilled workers.

The White House has made plans to bring more chip production to the United States.

It comes as an ongoing trade dispute focusing on technology intensifies between Washington and Beijing.

On Thursday, TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said that the production of advanced microprocessors at the factory in Arizona in the southwestern United States will now begin in 2025.

During a results presentation, Liu said the plant, which has been under construction since April 2021, faced a shortage of workers with “specialized expertise required for the installation of equipment in a semiconductor-grade facility.”

He added that the firm is “working to improve the situation, including sending experienced technicians from Taiwan to train the local skilled workers [in the US] for a short period”.

TSMC also predicted a 10% decline in sales this year, due to lower demand for semiconductors.

The company said profits fell by around 23% to NT$181.8bn ($5.8bn; £4.5bn) in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same time last year.

TSMC first announced plans to build a facility in Arizona in 2020, during the presidency of Donald Trump.

At the time, Liu said the first of TSMC’s two semiconductor manufacturing facilities at the Arizona plant would be operational by 2024, and the second would come online by 2026.

A long-running technology dispute has led the United States to take a series of measures against China’s chip-making industry, while investing billions of dollars to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry.

The US produces around 10% of the global supply of computer chips, which are key to everything from cars to mobile phones. In 1990, the country accounted for almost 40% of global production.

The investment included tax breaks for companies that built computer chip factories in the country.

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