TSMC states that the US CHIPS Act wont be enough to Improve Semiconductor Sector

An ex-spokesperson for the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has expressed her belief that the recent multi-billion dollar semiconductor funding measure that was approved by the US Congress earlier this week won’t be enough to significantly alter the semiconductor sector. The U.S. CHIPS Act, the legislation in question, contains a number of provisions that guarantee government funding for chip companies that want to either set up factories here or research and development facilities for new chipmaking technologies, particularly for nodes with feature sizes less than three nanometers.

The spokeswoman’s remarks were made during a Twitter conversation hosted by Bloomberg Technology. She said that the bill’s size and TSMC’s capital expenditure hardly scratch the surface of setting up large-scale facilities.

The interview took place earlier this week, during which representatives from Bloomberg Technology spoke with Ms. Elizabeth Sun, who worked with Dr. Morris Chang, the company’s founder, at TSMC for 16 years, from 2003 to 2019.

Ms. Sun began the talk by making it clear that because she is no longer employed by TSMC, her opinions are solely her own and not those of the firm. She also commended her former employer, TSMC, saying that the company had nothing but positive industry feedback when she arrived in 2003.

Well, this is a very complicated issue as we have already said, the semiconductor industry has been a global industry with a well established global supply chain. Now over sudden well. Say all of a sudden in the last few years, all these regions and countries are all talking about competition and building out its own complete supply chain domestically. Well. I don’t really know if it is really worthwhile. So is that really needed? Is that really possible? And even if it is possible, how long will it take? So I think we should spend resources to help smooth out the kinks in the supply chain. Instead of, you know, throwing out billions and billions of money building out all these separate and fragmented manufacturing capacities all over the place, I think the industry should spend resources wisely in researching and developing new materials, design architectures and new semiconductor applications.

I don’t fault the US government for trying to revive its semiconductor industry. I think it’s an important industry and US so far is still a leader in this industry. But the money spent to build out capacity is really not that meaningful. Well $52 billion is really not a lot of money you just look at the CapEx [Capital Expenditure] TSMC spends in just a single year. So what does $52 billion do? Secondly, you know why don’t you spend money in R&D? Spend the resources in R&S, in materials, in architecture, in innovative applications which will pay much bigger dividends.

TSMC
credit: wccftech

But you say oh but because of geopolitical conflicts and so there are choking points in the SC. but SC is complex! As long as one element is missing this whole supply chain can be stuck, so it really doesn’t matter if you are just missing one element or if you’re missing a dozen or a hundred elements. All of you are stuck. So how can you be certain that at any given point in time everything you need is there domestically? That’s not realistic. That’s not realistic.

So instead, you should work out collaborative models. The politicians should try to avoid too much conflicts among the world.

That point has been demonstrated in the past several decades as long as the semiconductor industry has been in existence. It has always been the case. And now all of a sudden some self serving companies with separate agenda, cetain self serving politicians come up, you know, escalating the conflict? That’s not wise!

The chipmaking industry is a difficult one to stay continuously profitable in, she said, adding that the historic demand following the coronavirus outbreak had obscured this truth on the corporations’ balance sheets. She continued by saying that because the industry is so capital and technologically intensive, it is almost impossible for newcomers to catch up to the established firms.

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