TSMC ups its Arizona chipmaking investment to $40 billion ahead of Biden’s visit

Tuesday's announcement is poised to make TSMC become the largest foreign investment in Arizona.
Tuesday's announcement is poised to make TSMC become the largest foreign investment in Arizona.(Arizona's Family file)
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 7:19 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 5:49 PM MST
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NEW YORK (CNN Business) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is upping its investment in the United States, announcing Tuesday that it’s building a second semiconductor factory in Arizona and raising its investment there from $12 billion to $40 billion. The move marks one of the “largest foreign direct investments in the history of the United States,” according to the company.

TSMC’s plans come as tensions between Washington and Beijing are rising over chips, with President Joe Biden imposing a sweeping set of controls on the sale of advanced chips and chip-making equipment to Chinese firms.

On Tuesday afternoon, Biden plans to visit the manufacturer’s site in Phoenix and speak about bringing jobs and investment to the state. Apple’s Tim Cook and other business leaders will attend the event, along with local lawmakers Senator Mark Kelly and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

TSMC previously announced that it was building a $12 billion facility in Arizona that will eventually manufacture 3-nanometer chips, TSMC’s most advanced technology. Between the two factories, thousands of “high-paying high-tech jobs” will be added to the state and 600,000 wafers per year will be produced, the company said.

TSMC accounts for an estimated 90% of the world’s super-advanced computer chips, supplying tech giants including Apple (AAPL) and Qualcomm (QCOM).

Chips are an indispensable part of everything from smartphones to washing machines — but are also difficult to make because of the high cost of development and the level of knowledge required, meaning much of the production is concentrated among a handful of suppliers.

The White House is touting the new investments as a direct result of Biden’s economic plan, including the $200 billion CHIPS and Science Act. Biden has been visiting communities where companies like TSMC and Intel have announced new investments since the passage of the law this summer.

“It means more workers in these major factories, but it also means more opportunities for suppliers and contractors, good paying construction jobs, opportunities for small and medium sized manufacturers and suppliers,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told reporters in a call on Monday. “It means economic opportunity for communities that have often been left behind in economic cycles, including traditional energy communities that have powered our nation for generations and tribal nations.”

The global chip shortage first surfaced at the beginning of the pandemic, which upended supply chains and changed consumer shopping patterns. Automakers cut back on their orders for chips while tech companies, whose products were boosted by lockdown living, snapped up as many as they could.

The facility Biden will visit Tuesday in Phoenix is slated to begin producing chips in 2024. The new facility should start production in 2026.

CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Wayne Chang and Diksha Madhok contributed to this report