Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
Apple chief Tim Cook previously announced that the tech giant will be purchasing chips for its iPhones, Macs and other key products made in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) new factory in Phoenix, Arizona. It seemed like a huge win for the Biden administration, which signs the CHIPS Act into law last year to boost manufacturing in the US and lessen its reliance on overseas suppliers. Now, The Information has reported that even though the components for Apple's chips will be manufactured in the US, they'll still have to be sent back to TSMC's home country for assembly.
Apparently, the manufacturer's factory in Arizona doesn't have the facilities to package its customers' more advanced chips. "Packaging" is what you call the final stage of fabrication, wherein the chip's components are assembled inside a housing as close together as possible to enhance speed and power efficiency. The iPhone, in particular, has been using a packaging method developed by TSMC since 2016. Chips for iPads and Macs can be packaged outside of Taiwan, but the iPhone's will have to be assembled in the country.
[...] Seeing as the government recently established (PDF) a National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing program to boost chip packaging in the US, it's aware of the need to bring the process into the country, as well. Apple and all the aforementioned TSMC clients aren't the only companies whose chips have to be sent overseas for assembly, since manufacturers aren't making enough products in the US to justify building packaging facilities in the country. However, that program is only getting $2.5 billion in funding under the CHIPS Act, and the Institute of Printed Circuits told the publication that the amount shows packaging isn't being prioritized. As for TSMC, The Information's sources said it has no plans to build packaging facilities in the US due to the huge costs involved, and any future packaging method it develops will most likely be offered in Taiwan.
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TSMC is in talks with Arizona officials to build its chip packaging facility in the state, Katie Hobbs, governor of Arizona, said in Taipei after visiting the world's No.1 foundry's headquarters, reports Bloomberg. If the plan comes to fruition, then TSMC's will have a vertically integrated chip production chain in the USA for the first time ever.
TSMC has built Fab 21 in Arizona and is currently installing production tools there. The company is also building up the second phase of the fab and has approved plans to invest $40 billion in these two production facilities. But the company apparently does not want to stop there and is discussing the possibility of building an advanced packaging fab in the state, too, as this will help it to assemble complex system-in-packages for its clients from the U.S. on American soil.