TSMC looking to build Japan plant in 2022 and start operations in 2024

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) said Thursday it envisions building a new plant in Japan in 2022 and starting operations there in 2024.

The announcement came days after a report that the government is considering offering financial support, potentially in cooperation with Sony Group Corp., for the world’s largest contract chipmaker if it builds a chipmaking factory in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Japan’s government has long wanted to build a semiconductor manufacturing base in the country amid a global computer-chip crunch.

Sony Group already has a plant in the town of Kikuyo in the prefecture, which makes the image sensors used in smartphones.

According to sources with knowledge of the matter, the government aid for TSMC could be as much as several billion U.S. dollars and could be included in a supplementary budget that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aims to compile by the end of December.

The bolstering of supply chains for critical components such as semiconductors has become a pressing issue. Japan has agreed with the United States to step up cooperation in the field as Washington and Beijing compete for a technological edge.

TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said at a shareholders’ meeting in July that it was a goal for the firm to build a plant in Japan. As a factory operated jointly with Sony is expected to benefit both firms, there has been speculation that the Taiwanese supplier to Apple Inc. and the Japanese conglomerate may work together.

Japan’s dependence on Taiwan as a supplier of advanced semiconductors is high. Japanese chipmakers used to have a competitive edge, but have lost out to Chinese and South Korean rivals over the years.

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