As revealed by the mayor of Taichung, a city in central Taiwan, TSMC is considering to invest between NT$800 billion to NT$1 trillion (approximately US$29 billion to US$36 billion) to expand its current manufacturing facility in the city.
TSMC currently operates its 12-inch Fab 15 and Advanced Backend Fab 3 in Taichung City’s Central Taiwan Science Park, and it plans to begin construction as early as 2023, with volume production beginning in 2025. While Fab 15 focuses on 28nm and N7+ processes, the expansion, if confirmed, will make Central Taiwan Science Park the site of TSMC’s 2nm process.
“Our 2nm process will be the most advanced technology in 2025 in terms of transistor density and performance,” according to C. C. Wei, TSMC chief executive.
Last year, TSMC chairman Mark Liu already indicated the possibility of locating a part of TSMC’s 2nm fabrication in Taichung, citing insufficient land availability in Taiwan.
For now, TSMC’s Fab 20 will be the main site of its 2nm process. Located in Hsinchu Science Park, the construction of Fab 20 is expected to begin as early as 2022, and begin volume production in the second half of 2024. Liu, however, hinted that TSMC might not have enough land in Hsinchu for its 2nm process, and identified Taichung as the next location for 2nm capacity expansion.
Above all, as industry insiders speculate, the TSMC site in Central Taiwan Science Park will also host its process nodes beyond 2nm. If everything proceeds smoothly, some semiconductor equipment manufacturers estimate that the 1.8nm (18 angstrom) will enter volume production between 2026 – 2027.
In principle, according to the TSMC chairman, TSMC will equally divide its capacity among the northern, central and southern parts of Taiwan. The world’s largest foundry pledged to keep its most advanced process in Taiwan, following its decision to expand overseas to countries like the US, Japan and Germany.