TSMC is the world’s largest chip maker, for Apple, Qualcomm and many other technology giants to provide chips. In recent years, TSMC has planned to build new factories in the U.S. and Germany to expand production capacity and meet customer demand due to increased chip demand and supply shortages. However, these plans have also sparked some controversy and skepticism.
TSMC’s plant in Arizona is its first within the United States and is supported and subsidized by the U.S. government. The purpose of the plant is to increase U.S. autonomy and competitiveness in the chip sector, as well as to create jobs. However, the construction of the plant has encountered a number of difficulties and challenges. The plant has reportedly suffered from engineering safety issues, schedule delays and cost overruns. Production of the plant, originally scheduled for 2024, has been delayed until 2025, and there are rumors that chips made in the U.S. will be more expensive than those made in Taiwan.
To speed up construction and reduce costs, TSMC intends to send about 500 experienced construction workers from Taiwan to work in the United States. TSMC claims these workers have experience building similar factories in Taiwan and can help improve efficiency and quality. However, the move has been opposed by local labor unions. The unions believe it goes against the promise of creating jobs for U.S. workers and shows disrespect for the skills and level of U.S. workers. The union has launched a petition asking senators and members of the House of Representatives to stop TSMC from applying for EB-2 visas, and has created a website called “Stand with American Workers,” which accuses TSMC of reneging on its promises, insulting U.S. workers, and attempting to exploit cheap labor.
TSMC is also planning to build a new factory in the German state of Saxony, based on subsidies and support from the German government, according to the Financial Times. Again, this factory may need to recruit more workers from overseas, as Germany is also facing the same problem of skills shortage and population decline.