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Taiwan’s Drought Won’t Slow TSMC’s Chip Manufacturing

The largest contract chip manufacturer in the world, TSMC, is responding to Taiwan’s water shortage by building a plant that can treat and reuse industrial water in the production of semiconductors.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are claiming this will be the world’s first such treatment centre for industrial waste-water, and that recycled water will make up close to half its use. The plant will be operational by the end of the year, with its capacity slowly building. TSMC currently uses 156,000 tons of water a day.

“It will gradually ramp up the treatment capacity of industrial wastewater and by 2024 will be able to generate 67,000 tons of water daily that can go back into to the chipmaking process,” said Lora Ho, senior vice president of Europe & Asia sales.

TSMC CEO C.C. Wei recently said: “We are continuing our collaborative efforts with the government as well as with the private sector.

“We do not expect to see any material impact on our operations,” he said.

This drought, the worst the country has seen in fifty years, comes at a bad time for the company.

Morris Chang, founder of TSMC, said recently in a speech that South Korean company Samsung are “a formidable competitor.”

He cited South Korea’s well-developed sea-air transport logistics, and a similar corporate culture at Samsung as the main reasons they are such a threat.

However, Chang believes that Chinese foundries are yet to pose a serious threat to TSMC, remarking their manufacturing capacities are still five years behind.

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