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The head of TSMC made it clear that enterprises in the US and Japan are being built in the interests of a major client.

Published: 2022-12-18

CEO of Taiwanese company TSMC C.C. Wei, at an industry event this week, denounced the decoupling trend between China and the United States, which is hindering the development of the semiconductor industry and increasing costs. Along the way, he explained that the company's enterprises in the US and Japan appear in order to satisfy the needs of a large client, and not to please the political conjuncture.

TSMC's biggest customer is unmistakably Apple, which is interested in getting chips from both TSMC's Arizona facilities and Japan, where it will be jointly operated by Sony and Denso. The first of the Japanese companies, as Apple management recently explained, is the largest supplier of image sensors for the brand's mobile devices. Accordingly, the emergence of TSMC in Japan indirectly contributes to meeting Apple's demand for Sony components.

“We will never build factories overseas because of government subsidies or at the request of the US or Japanese authorities,” the Nikkei Asian Review quoted the head of TSMC as saying. The only reason, according to C.C. Wei, that can force TSMC to establish a presence in these countries is the presence of demand from the company's customers. That is the top priority for TSMC, as summarized by the CEO.

He did not hide his skepticism about the initiative of the Japanese authorities, which implies the development of a 2-nm process technology with the support of IBM by 2027. Even if Japan's Rapidus consortium succeeds in achieving this goal, the intermediate stages of lithographic progress will require tremendous effort, according to the TSMC chief. In general, as CC Wei explained, he does not like the attempts of many countries to acquire their own enterprises for the production of semiconductor components. If it were that simple, then such enterprises would have existed all over the world for a long time. Even the transfer of production within Taiwan requires enormous efforts, not to mention the migration of technology outside the island. Adequate development of infrastructure in Taiwan required the consolidated efforts of many companies over 30 years, the head of TSMC added.

He did not bypass the latest geopolitical processes. According to him, the pandemic and military conflicts do not harm global supply chains as much as geopolitical confrontation in general. It disrupts the functioning of the world market, increases costs and holds back scientific and technological progress, negating the achievements of globalization in previous years. Worst of all, trust and the desire for cooperation are weakening between countries. It is these qualities that have allowed humanity to make progress in the past, as stated by CC Wei.