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Can TSMC Turn Arizona into Taiwan?

Is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. prepared—financially, and culturally—to transfer chip production to Arizona?
Can TSMC Turn Arizona into Taiwan?

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By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
TSMC is in a box in Arizona. It needs to explain its situation more frankly and transparently. If it doesn’t, TSMC looks more and more as though it plans to “make Arizona Taiwanese.”

A statement by TSMC CEO C.C. Wei at its latest earnings call raised eyebrows among semiconductor industry veterans. Wei said the cost to manufacture chips in Arizona will exceed chips made in Taiwan. TSMC expects customers to share the burden of the price hike.

As my colleague Bolaji Ojo wrote last week, many industry observers wonder how this prospect might fly with TSMC clients like Apple and Nvidia.

Before these big customers bite the TSMC bullet, they want to know more about  long-term benefits it is receiving from federal, state and local governments.

More important, everyone deserves more specifics from TSMC as to how it plans to succeed in Arizona. Asking customers to share the higher cost of doing business in the US is one thing. But by blaming its thus far clunky operations in Arizona on American “work habits,” TSMC risks losing the trust of its generous host nation.

This is great stuff. Let’s get started.

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