Taiwanese chip giant mulls first European factory in Germany

The world’s largest silicon chip maker, Taiwan’s TSMC, may build its first European plant in Germany, the company’s chairman Mark Liu is reported to have said.

"We’re in the preliminary stage of reviewing whether to go to Germany," Liu told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting, Nikkei Asia reports. 

"It’s still very early, but we are seriously evaluating it, and [a decision] will depend on our customers’ needs," Liu added.

The comment follows reports that TSMC was considering a 16nm/12nm plant in Dresden to satisfy demand from customers such as German semiconductor maker Infineon Technologies.

TSMC is also considering building a plant in Japan, and in May announced that it would invest $12bn in a 5nm factory in Arizona, which is due to be completed in 2024.

Tech website EE News comments that if the company goes ahead, it would be a "change of heart", since TSMC has always preferred to keep its manufacturing focused on a few campus sites in Taiwan, although it has made exceptions in the US and China.

If TSMC does go ahead, it will be welcomed by the European Commission, which has formed a "Semiconductor Alliance" to work to strengthen Europe’s position in the chip sector.

Image: A TSMC production site in Taiwan (Briaxis F Mendes/CC BY-SA 4.0) 

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