TSMC finally puts its name to its aging Northwest chip factory

Twenty-five years later, TSMC announced that it would rename its factory in Camas, Washington, formerly known as WaferTech, to TSMC Washington Corporation. TSMC Vice President YP Chin said that this change reflects TSMC Washington’s core position in the company family and has made an important contribution to TSMC’s continued success and innovation in the semiconductor industry.

TSMC is one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced chipmakers, primarily as a contract manufacturer, making complex chips for semiconductor industry giants including Apple’s iPhones and Macs, as well as Nvidia.

At that time, TSMC established its first factory in the United States called WaferTech in order to expand its business. Due to poor management, market share is low. It once led TSMC to decide not to build more factories in the United States. It was not until the market picked up three years ago that it announced the establishment of a new factory in Arizona.

Project Camas began in the 1990s as a joint venture between TSMC and other electronics manufacturers. Named after WaferTech, the plant is expected to be one of several built on the 260-acre site. However, WaferTech also faces many challenges due to environmental issues and complex relationships with local water and power companies, as well as disputes among partners. However, TSMC eventually acquired the joint venture partner’s share.

It is worth mentioning that WaferTech is the last of the previous generation of 200mm silicon wafer fabs, rather than the current more economical 300mm standard. This puts it at a technical and financial disadvantage. TSMC founder Morris Chang once lamented, “It was chaotic at the beginning. We were too naive and expected costs to be comparable to Taiwan.”

Still, WaferTech will continue to operate under its original name, making older-generation chips and employing hundreds of people. Despite speculation about expansion at the site, those plans never came to fruition. But in an interview last year, Chang accidentally described WaferTech as being located in Oregon, not Washington. This may be for the “TSMC Washington” factory, indicating the specific location.

Post time: Dec-20-2023