Taiwanese officials have given local semiconductor fabrication specialist TSMC the green light to build a £2 billion facility on China's mainland.
Taiwan Semiconductor, better known as TSMC, announced the plan
to build the £2 billion 12" wafer fabrication facility in China's Nanking region in December last year, but was blocked by rules put in place by the Investment Commission of Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs regarding local companies making large-scale technology investments in China. Spurred by relaxing tensions between Taiwan and China, the rules have been gradually slackening to the point where the Investment Commission has now given the go-ahead for TSMC to begin building the facility.
The company hopes that, even with this regulatory delay, the plant will be up and running to produce 16nm parts on 12" wafers by 2018 and will scale to a volume of 20,000 wafers per month - many of which will be sold to Chinese customers. The facility will be supported by a local design service centre.
The expansion comes as TSMC claims to be ready to tape out its first 10nm process parts
, aiming to leapfrog industry leader Intel to the new process node. This forms the central premise of the company's extremely aggressive roadmap, which promises a shift to 7nm by 2018 and 5nm by 2020 - despite the considerable engineering challenges posed by the laws of physics at such small feature sizes.