TSMC considers expanding in Japan amid China tensions: report


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in Hsinchu Science Park. Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor, the world’s largest chipmaker, rose as much as 5 percent in Asia on Wednesday morning after Morgan Stanley advised.

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Computer chip maker TSMC Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is exploring potential expansion in Japan as tensions between China and the West continue to pose challenges for the company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Citing unnamed sources, the Journal reported that the Japanese government has indicated it would welcome an Apple supplier to build beyond its initial manufacturing plant in the country, although no decision has yet been made. The plant being built in Japan, for example, will focus on less advanced chips used in cars, but the extra capacity could focus on more advanced technology, the Journal reported.

World leaders have expressed concern over Taiwan’s continued independence from China. The recent visit of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Taiwan seems to have escalated tensions, and in response, the Chinese government has started military exercises and stopped some Taiwanese imports.

“The US-China trade conflict and escalating cross-strait tensions have brought more serious challenges to all industries, including the semiconductor industry,” TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said at an industry group event on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The United States is seeking to reduce its reliance on foreign chip manufacturing by passing funding to help upgrade domestic manufacturing facilities. Computer chips are used in a wide variety of products, from smartphones to cars to medical equipment.

TSMC isn’t the only tech maker shifting production to regions that may feel less direct influence from China. Apple announced that some of the new iPhone 14 will be manufactured by Foxconn in India. Foxconn, which has a large presence in China, also moved some Apple products to Vietnam, Reuters reported in 2020.

TSMC did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment

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