Beyond 2024: TSMC Fab 21’s Tech Odyssey Awaits American Investment Boost

Last month, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) unexpectedly announced that its Chairman, Dr. Mark Liu, had decided not to seek nomination for the next term of TSMC’s board and would retire after the 2024 annual shareholders’ meeting. Speculations suggest that Dr. Liu’s retirement may be linked to the challenges faced by TSMC’s Fab 21 semiconductor fabrication plant project in Arizona, USA. Since its commencement in April 2021, the Fab 21 project has encountered various difficulties, leading to significant delays in the project’s timeline.


According to a report by SeekingAlpha, Dr. Liu recently stated in a conference call with analysts and investors that the second phase of the Fab 21 project is underway, with a current timetable set between 2027 and 2028. However, the specific technology to be employed is yet to be decided and is contingent upon the extent of incentives offered by the U.S. government.

TSMC announced at the end of 2022 that the total investment in the Fab 21 project had increased to $40 billion. The initial phase involved an investment of $12 billion, opting for a 4/5nm process production line. The second phase was originally planned to utilize a 3nm process and commence production in 2026, with both phases combined projected to produce 50,000 wafers per month. Due to uncertainties in subsidies under the CHIPS Act and a reduction in customer demand, TSMC has postponed its deployment timeline by at least a year and is reassessing whether to adopt more advanced technologies or opt for relatively established manufacturing processes.

Dr. Liu emphasized that the choice of technology for overseas semiconductor fabrication plants depends on regional customer demand at a given time. Furthermore, he reaffirmed that the first phase of the project is set to begin mass production in the first half of 2025, ensuring both manufacturing quality and reliability.