Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC is by far the largest contract manufacturer of semiconductor chips in the world. The company is headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and reportedly has a massive 55 percent share of the global market. Now, according to new reports coming out of the island nation, the company is looking to expand even further, and towards that end, has asked the country’s government to help them find a suitable location to build “an advanced chip plant to manufacture 5nm and 3nm chips”. According to Taiwan's minister of science and technology, Mr. Yang Hung-duen, the company is planning to build a massive NT$500 billion ($15.7 billion) facility that should be up and running by 2022.
While exact details about the project are still hard to come by, the overall land requirement for the factory is said to be between 50 to 80 hectares (123 to 197 acres). The planned facility, meanwhile, promises to be one of the most advanced of its kind with a capability to make some of the smallest, most power efficient and cutting edge chips in the market. According to the company, the massive investment is needed to compete on even terms against its deep-pocketed American and South Korean rivals, as well as to make a foray into some of the emerging tech sectors that are expected to become multi-billion dollar industries in the future; namely, artificial intelligence, machine learning and self-driving vehicles, all of which require some serious processing power.
TSMC recently announced that the company has already been working on 5nm chip technology for a while, and that it has now got over 300 of its engineers working on 3nm and 2nm chips. The company plans to start mass production of its 7nm chips in early 2018. As mentioned already, TSMC is the largest operator of dedicated independent semiconductor foundries with around 55 percent of the global market. The company has around 470 clients worldwide, including American tech giant Apple, whose 10nm 'A11' chips are currently produced by the Taiwanese firm. TSMC’s other notable clients include U.S. chipmakers Qualcomm and Nvidia, alongside fellow Taiwanese tech company, MediaTek. TSMC also has a contract to manufacture the Kirin-branded chips for HiSilicon Technology, which is the firm responsible for Huawei's own silicon in devices like the Huawei Mate 9.