Amidst the global chip shortage, Taiwan’s silicon wafer manufacturer GlobalWafers Co., Ltd. has announced that it will invest $5 billion in a manufacturing plant. The wafers, often used in manufacturing semiconductors, would also generate as many as 1,500 jobs in the town of Sherman, Texas and it is the first U.S. silicon wafer facility in more than two decades. According to the company, the new plant will manufacture 300 milimetre silicon wafers and would be completed later this year.
“With the global chips shortage and ongoing geopolitical concerns, GlobalWafers is taking this opportunity to address the United States semiconductor supply chain resiliency issue by building an advanced node, state-of-the-art, 300-millimetre silicon wafer factory,” Chairwoman and CEO Doris Hsu said.
“Instead of importing wafers from Asia, GlobalWafers USA (GWA) will produce and supply wafers locally.”
“300-millimetre silicon wafers are the starting material for all advanced semiconductor fabrication sites, including recently announced United States expansions by GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung, Texas Instruments and TSMC,” said the Taiwanese chipmaker. “Most of these wafers are currently manufactured in Asia, forcing the US semiconductor industry to highly rely on imported silicon wafers.”
The move comes after a failed venture in the European market, but the deal hinges on the approval of financial incentives by Congress. “If the Chips Act is not passed, we have to pivot to South Korea,” said the company’s president, Mark England. The construction which will eventually span 3.2 million square feet is scheduled to start this year with production beginning in 2025. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed off on a grant of $15 million and offered an additional $10,000 bonus for creating jobs for US veterans.
GlobalWafers said in February it expected its total capital expenditure to reach around T$100 billion ($3.4 billion) between 2022 and 2024, redirecting funds for a now-terminated 4.35-billion-euro ($4.60 billion) takeover of Germany’s Siltronic. The failed acquisition uncovered Europe’s dependence on Asian suppliers, which has triggered efforts to boost production in the continent.
GlobalWafers’ Taipei-listed shares showed a downward trend of about 5% on Tuesday morning.