TSMC Confirms it Seeks a U.S. Site, But Denies Link to Apple

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. CEO Morris Chang confirms that his company is contemplating another U.S. factory, but says the hunt has no connection to Apple.

“The U.S. is one of the places under consideration,” Chang said at the annual Supply Chain Management Forum in Taiwan, according to Taipei Times. “But this has nothing to do with Apple.”

State officials in New York and Oregon are courting a mysterious project dubbed “Project Azalea.” Documents associated with the New York project suggest it’s a large semiconductor factory, and speculation within the chip industry focused on TSMC, the world’s leading contract manufacturer of computer chips.

The theory within the industry had been that TSMC was seeking the site in hopes of winning the contract to make mobile chips for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Apple has been widely reported to be seeking an alternative to its current supplier, Samsung, which is engaged in a series of patent disputes with Apple over their rival smartphones and tablets.

Chang’s comments — apparently made last week, and noted by EETimes today — appear to take Apple off the table. But they are the strongest direct evidence that TSMC is the company behind “Azalea.”

TSMC already has one U.S. chip factory, an older site called WaferTech in Southwest Washington that uses trailing-edge technology. There is room to expand on that site, but there is no indication that TSMC is contemplating expansion there.

The Oregonian

Benjamin Kerry
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