Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is planning to set up a joint advanced IC packaging and testing plant in Japan at the invitation of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday.
Citing anonymous industrial sources, the report said that the joint venture with METI, which is expected to be built in Tokyo, would make TSMC a critical player in Japanese efforts to work with the US in countering China, which has shown ambitions of cultivating its own semiconductor industry.
TSMC and METI are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding in the near future, and make public the project in which each party would take a 50 percent stake, the sources said.
If the plan proceeds, it would be TSMC’s first overseas IC packaging and testing plant. The company operates advanced IC packaging and testing plants in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan.
TSMC provides one-stop services for clients who buy chips and require advanced 3D IC packaging and testing technology.
TSMC is banned from commenting on media reports ahead of its investors’ conference on Thursday next week.
The report said that METI previously invited TSMC to set up a chip plant in Japan amid worries that a plan by the Taiwanese firm to build a 5-nanometer plant in Arizona would affect Japan’s status in the global semiconductor industry, but TSMC turned down the invitation.
METI did not give up, adjusted its strategy and asked TSMC to set up an advanced IC packaging and testing plant, the report said.
Ray Yang (楊瑞臨), a supervisor at the Industrial Technology Research Institute’s Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center, said that TSMC is likely to focus on specialty processes to cater to Japanese clients in the power management solution, automotive electronics and wind energy development sectors, as well as those in other electric machinery industries.
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