How TSMC’s semiconductor plants in Phoenix will benefit the United States

By Christina Estes
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 6:09pm
Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - 8:11am

Christina Estes/KJZZ
Local and Taiwanese officials celebrate the opening of TSMC in Phoenix on Dec. 6, 2022.

President Joe Biden visited north Phoenix on Tuesday to mark a major announcement in the semiconductor industry. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, known as TSMC, plans to invest $40 billion in Arizona between a nearly completed facility and a second plant expected to open in 2026.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden spoke at TSMC opening ceremony in Phoenix on Dec. 6, 2022.

“We’re making things here in America and shipping the products overseas rather than shipping the jobs overseas to make things overseas and bring them back home,” Biden said during a ceremony.

The U.S. doesn’t “really make any of the world’s most sophisticated, leading edge, cutting edge chips,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “And that’s not just an economic vulnerability — that’s a national security issue, a national security vulnerability.”

TSMC is the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductors and its Phoenix operations represent the largest direct foreign investment in Arizona history. The company’s first fabrication facility, referred to as a fab, will begin production of N4 process technology in 2024 and its second fab is scheduled to begin production of 3nm process technology in 2026.

“It’s a chance for the United States to usher in a new era in advanced manufacturing,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “It’s the chance to create high tech American jobs, the jobs of the future, the jobs that could define our future.”

Gov. Doug Ducey called Apple’s announcement that it will source chips for its products from TSMC in Arizona “a point of pride for our state and a huge economic win.”

TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said the fab will be the greenest fab in the United States, “For example, this fab’s main water source will be recycled water. We are in the planning stage for on-site industrial water reclamation plant," he said. When finished, it "will allow the site to have near zero liquid discharge. This is historic in our semiconductor industry.”

A crane at the Taiwan Semiconductor facility in the Valley.
The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company site in north Phoenix in 2022.

Solar panels will be installed in the parking lot near Interstate 17 and Loop 303. TSMC said it is incorporating a sulfuric acid reclamation system, “which will allow it to reuse sulfuric acid from the production line, saving 921,300 gallons per year of sulfuric acid from disposal.”

When both fabs are completed, TSMC said it will produce more than 600,000 wafers annually. Each wafer can produce various chips, depending on their sizes. Chips are used in everything from appliances and cars to defense and military systems. 

TSMC said both fabs will create 4,500 direct jobs and more than 600 Americans have been trained at its facilities in Taiwan to bring the knowledge to Arizona.

TSMC fab plant
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Sign on TSMC fab plant in north Phoenix on Dec. 6, 2022.