TSMC is responding to critics with a massive 3nm production party

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will hold another party this month. She threw a big celebration in Arizona earlier in December to celebrate the arrival of the first machines at the factory, in a high-profile event that even saw President Biden attend. However, the company is not done celebrating its successes, apparently, according to reports in the Taiwanese media, TSMC will hold a ceremony at its Nan-ke facility in Taiwan next week to officially start mass production of its flagship feature 3 nanometer semiconductor manufacturing process. The 3nm node has been at the center of significant controversy this year, with some claiming it is behind schedule after TSMC’s main rival in contract chipmaking Samsung Foundry leapfrogged production ahead of the Taiwanese company.

The 3nm celebration event reported to TSMC is no coincidence

After the occasion for the first machines to arrive in Arizona with plenty of pomp and show, voices within Taiwan wondered if TSMC was shifting its focus to America instead. Lawmakers were concerned that the new factory might lead to technology transfers to the United States — which, to this day, is the backbone of chip manufacturing because of a robust ecosystem of back-end equipment and design firms. Taiwanese government officials allayed these concerns as propaganda spreading from mainland China to harm the relationship between America and Taiwan.

In addition, TSMC has always been at the center of rumors this year, claiming that its 3nm manufacturing has been delayed. Some have accused the company of introducing new “generations” of technology to cover up these delays. Others, on the other hand, believe that it simply does not have enough orders to profitably operate expensive chip-making machines.

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According to Taiwanese semiconductor industry sources reported by United Daily News (UDN), the event aims to dispel any rumors that TSMC is falling behind the 3nm manufacturing schedule.

Cheerleaders perform during TSMC Sports Day in 2017. Photo: CNA

However, despite speculations of delays, TSMC’s management has repeatedly stated that its 3nm production is on schedule. And a recent earnings call discussing Q3 2022 results saw CEO Dr. C.C. Wei outline the following:

Despite the ongoing inventory correction, we noted a high level of customer engagement in both the N3 and N3E with more than 2x more streaks compared to the N5 in its first and second year. We are working closely with our tooling supplier to address delivery challenges and prepare more 3nm capacity to support our customers’ strong demand in 2023, 2024 and beyond. Our 3nm technology will be the most advanced semiconductor technology in both PPA and transistor technology when introduced. We are confident that the N3 family will be another great, long-term node for TSMC.

These comments come as the semiconductor industry faces a historic downturn. Companies such as Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA have seen their revenues drop dramatically as inflation surges through consumers’ purchasing power. TSMC also had to adjust its capacity accordingly, and the third-quarter conference saw Dr. Wei share that the demand forecast shared with him by the chip designers was significantly different from the demand that came true.

The 3nm mass production celebration ceremony will also answer any concerns in Taiwan about TSMC moving away from its home territory to the United States. This manufacturing process is the company’s most advanced technology yet, and official statements have indicated it will be bringing it to the United States. US factory in 2026 – a year after these chips will start manufacturing in Taiwan in 2025 in Taiwan on current schedules.

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