TSMC founder claims Taiwanese engineers are more devoted than Americans

Posted on Thursday, April 22 2021 @ 10:09 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
At a think tank forum in Taiwan, TSMC founder Morris Chang took some shots at Intel. WCCF Tech has a summary of Chang's thoughts over here.

First up, Chang thinks it's a bit ironic that Intel wants to become a big foundry player. Chang recalls that more than 30 years ago, when TSMC was still a startup, Intel declined to invest in the foundry:
At the time, Intel refused the offer - with economic conditions and the timing being contributing factors behind the company's decision. Taking stock of the company's decision to enter the contract chipmaking sector more than three decades after its decision to not invest in TSMC, Mr. Chang described the situation as "ironic."

"Taiwan is the biggest strength of TSMC"

While US and European leaders increasingly view the concentration of semiconductor foundries in Taiwan as a geopolitical risk, Chang believes Taiwan is TSMC's biggest strength. When talking about work ethic, Chang claims "no one in the United States is as dedicated to their work as in Taiwan."

He also highlighted the infrastructure of Taiwan as a major benefit:
He also outlined the importance of Taiwan's high-speed rail network in allowing TSMC's engineers to rapidly commute between the island's various districts, going on to add that the company also provides housing at its facilities for those looking to avoid the commute. Building upon this, Mr. Chang questioned whether engineers would be equally motivated to work in Arizona since they will not have such facilities in the U.S. The Taiwanese company is encouraging its employees to join the Arizona facility, with rumors speculating that the scope of its investment in the plant might touch $35 billion.
The TSMC founder believes Samsung, and not Intel, will remain TSMC's biggest rival. Chang thinks Samsung Foundry enjoys similar manufacturing advantages as TSMC.

He also reitereated that TSMC is not a big fan of the self-sufficiency goals of the US and the EU. Chang is concerned about the highest manufacturing costs in the US. Subsidies granted by the US government can alleviate this concern in the short term, but Chang is confident that Taiwan will remain more competitive in terms of labor and cost advantages in the long run.

Speaking about China, Chang explained the mainland is about five years behind TSMC in terms of semiconductor fabrication and two years behind in logic fabrication. Over the coming years, TSMC is investing dozens of billions to maintain, and perhaps even increase, its lead.

5nm output getting a boost

In related news, DigiTimes writes 5nm capacity is going up soon. TSMC will scale it up to as much as 150,000 wafers monthly starting in the second quarter through the end of this year. Demand for cutting-edge foundry services remains extremely high.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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