FirstFT: TSMC triples Arizona chip investment


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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will more than triple its investment in the US state of Arizona to $40bn, as geopolitical tensions put pressure on the world’s largest contract chipmaker to step up diversification of its production facilities.

TSMC is currently putting $12bn into construction of a fabrication plant or “fab” in Arizona that was originally designed to make chips with notionally 5 nanometre circuit widths — an N5 generation that will be behind the most advanced one by the time the fab opens in 2024.

However, at an event marking the installation of the first chip tools at the Phoenix plant, the company announced plans for a second fab which will manufacture more advanced 3nm, or N3 chips, from 2026, according to White House officials and people close to TSMC.

But industry experts said the larger TSMC presence would still be unable to accommodate cutting-edge products such as new iPhone models when the fabs finally open. They added the investments could provide only minimal supply chain security, giving a stark reminder of the immense risks incurred if China attacked Taiwan — where TSMC is headquartered and continues the bulk of its expansion.

  • Go deeper: Chris Miller won the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award for Chip War, an account of the global battle for semiconductor supremacy and how manufacturers came to rely on advanced chips from a handful of companies.

1. CCP strives for cohesive image at Jiang’s funeral The Chinese Communist party honoured Jiang Zemin with three minutes of nationwide silence and a memorial service broadcast live on Tuesday, as it sought to project an image of unity while mourning a former president whose policies contrasted starkly with those of Xi Jinping.

2. Trump Organization convicted of tax fraud in Manhattan trial Donald Trump’s businesses have been found guilty of tax fraud, in a significant victory for Manhattan prosecutors who pursued the only criminal case against the former US president’s empire even as he launched a third bid for the White House.

3. Hungary blocks €18bn worth of EU aid for Ukraine Budapest has told a meeting of EU finance ministers that it would not support a European Commission proposal for loans aimed at helping to plug Kyiv’s 2023 budget gap. The move deepens a rift between prime minister Viktor Orbán and Brussels. In turn, Brussels put on hold a decision over Budapest’s own access to €5.8bn worth of Covid-19 recovery funds.

4. Indonesia overhauls criminal code Indonesia has legislated to outlaw insults against the president and sex outside marriage as part of its new criminal code. The revised code, which was approved by the parliament yesterday, will apply to both foreigners and locals in the south-east Asian nation, the world’s third-biggest democracy and home to its biggest Muslim population.

5. China braces for lunar new year Covid outbreaks Chinese health authorities have raised concerns about Covid-19 outbreaks among frontline medical staff and migrant workers returning home during the lunar new year holiday, as inadequately prepared rural areas could be overwhelmed by the virus.

The day ahead

China trade balance figures November trade data slated for release today will give markets a better read on how domestic and foreign demand have held up for the world’s second-largest economy. Economists polled by Bloomberg have forecast a substantially sharper drop in imports compared with October.

Bank of Japan board member speech Toyoaki Nakamura is set to deliver a speech and hold a news conference in Nagano.

Australia GDP figures Data released today is expected to show that Australia’s economy grew 0.6 per cent in the third quarter, marking a small slowdown from the prior quarter. (Sky News Australia)

COP15 biodiversity summit The two-week summit will kick off in Montreal today, where officials will aim to agree a deal to save the world’s animals and ecosystems. The conference was originally scheduled to begin in October 2020, but has been delayed several times due to the pandemic. (Vox)

FT Global Boardroom Join the FT’s top journalists in conversation with leaders in business and government at our Global Boardroom event which runs today through Friday. Register here for your free digital pass.

Clarification: Yesterday’s FirstFT Asia incorrectly said that the Senate runoff in Georgia would determine control of the upper chamber. Democrats, with vice-president Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker, already hold the majority.

What else we’re reading

China’s elderly vaccine refuseniks pose obstacle for Xi Standing in Xi Jinping’s way of an orderly exit from his zero-Covid policies are about 85mn people — one-third of the 267mn Chinese citizens in their 60s — who have not received a third vaccine dose. Also standing in Xi’s way is Beijing’s refusal to import foreign jabs.

It is the west’s duty to help Ukraine win this war While it is painful to suffer the energy shock from this war, it is the west’s duty to cope, writes Martin Wolf. It is Ukraine and Ukrainians who bear the brunt of the conflict. We in the comfortable west must give them the resources they need.

Is Johnson really the emissary that blockchain needs right now? With FTX in tatters, bitcoin in abeyance and the entire fundament of crypto finance in doubt, the technology of blockchain was badly in want of an image boost. What the distributed ledger technology needed, Singapore decided, was the rhetorical skills of former UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

Germany confronts a broken business model For years, Germany’s business model has been predicated on low-cost energy guaranteed by a plentiful supply of Russian gas. Now, companies are suffering the consequences. Can the country’s industrial economy reinvent itself without cheap gas from Russia?

What employees say about a four-day workweek A number of UK companies have signed up to trial a four-day week, with no loss in pay for employees. In the second episode of this four-part series about the trial, host Isabel Berwick and Emma Jacobs hear from employees involved, reporting on their concerns about maintaining productivity and time management.

Would you be in favour of a four-day workweek? Tell us in our poll below.

Food and drink

FT’s Jancis Robinson has a wine for everyone on your list. Explore her 45 recommended reds, plus her list of favourite whites (and one rosé) for the holiday season and beyond.

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