U.S.-China trade tensions could affect TSMC’s timing as it heads toward 3nm process node
TSMC manufacturers Apple’s 5nm A14 Bionic chipset
Thanks to the pandemic, TSMC had a very tough year in 2020. But the company recently released its annual stockholders’ report for 2020 and said, “For TSMC, although 2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges, it was also a year of significant growth and progress. Facing upheaval brought by the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as geopolitical tensions, we worked dynamically with our customers, and doubled down our commitment to technology leadership, manufacturing excellence, and customer trust.”
Continuing, TSMC said “In 2020, we delivered an eleventh consecutive year of record revenue, thanks to strong demand coming to our industry-leading 5-nanometer (N5) and 7-nanometer (N7) technologies. Our revenue increased 31.4% year-over-year in US dollar terms, as compared to about 10% year-over-year growth for the semiconductor industry.” Sounds to us as though TSMC had a good year.
Despite the new administration that took over in the U.S. in January, the U.S. and China continue to have problems when it comes to a meeting of the minds on trade and security. Taiwan is hoping to avoid getting tangled up in U.S,-China relations. One way that TSMC hopes to curry favor with U.S. lawmakers is through a factory it is building in Arizona that will start production of 20,000 wafers per month in 2024 using the 5nm process node.
TSMC will be taking its process node down when volume production of 3nm chips starts during the second half of next year. These components are expected to deliver performance gains of up to 15% and up to a 30% reduction in power use. If TSMC is prevented from obtaining supplies from its U.S. partners, this timing might have to be changed.