TSMC plans new chip factory with Sony in western Japan

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Apple’s partner TSMC could work with Sony on a new semiconductor plant in Japan, as part of a $ 7 billion investment that could start chip production by 2024.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co is said to be in talks with the Sony Group to potentially build a semiconductor plant in western Japan. The facility, which could become TSMC’s first operation in Japan, is apparently aimed at producing chips for automotive purposes, among other uses.

The project is expected to cost around 800 billion yen ($ 7 billion), sources of Nikkei reveal. The Japanese government is reportedly expected to produce up to half of the total value of the investment, with Sony potentially taking only a minority stake in the deal.

If approved, the plant will be built in Kumamoto Prefecture on land owned by Sony, close to its existing image sensor plant. One of the potential uses for the semiconductors produced is for camera image sensors, according to the sources, which could cause the factory to somehow work with the neighboring Sony facility.

TSMC and Sony may not be the only companies involved in the project. Denso, a member of the Toyota Motor Group, is reportedly keen to participate, perhaps to secure a stable supply of chips for auto parts.

Considering Apple’s connection to TSMC, it’s entirely possible that the chip foundry’s main customer could get involved, possibly to secure its own production of automatic chips for the Apple Car, which has been rumored since. long time.

While the two companies are in talks about the partnership, it appears there may be some time to wait before the plant becomes usable for production. People familiar with the plans believe it will start working by 2024.

In theory, the plant could be commissioned towards the expected end of the chip shortage, which is expected to impact manufacturing for at least a few years. Governments are trying to rectify the problem in various ways, such as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a $ 250 billion bill to increase funding for domestic semiconductor production.

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