GlobalWafers Chairwoman and chief executive Doris Hsu has advised reporters including Reuters, that construction of its $5B manufacturing facility in Texas will start in late November. Hsu, said that the plant will make 300mm (12-inch) silicon wafers, a staple commodity in the semiconductor industry. This is the first silicon wafer facility to be built in the US in over 20 years, and will quickly become an important part of the ecosystem that is currently rapidly expanding thanks to the passing of the US Chips Act.
The GlobalWafers boss told reporters that the lure of U.S. Chip Act funding was important, but not the only factor leading up to the decision to open a sizable facility in Texas. “I think the U.S. market lacks silicon wafers. When we discuss carbon footprints, localization, and green solutions, I think there needs to be a local solution,” Hsu told reporters. However, the U.S. found favor and GlobalWafers shifted its plans from Germany this summer (despite the EU Chips Act).
A $5B semiconductor wafer plant doesn’t provide much idea of the physical scale GlobalWafers is planning. So thankfully, the firm shared an outline of its plans to investors back in June. The $5B is apparently enough to build; a 3.2 million sq ft state-of-the-art 300mm silicon wafer factory in Sherman, Texas. That compares very well against GlobalWafers' existing Missouri plant which is a relatively modest 744,000 sq ft and produced a mix of 200 and 300mm wafers. The new Texas facility is also expected to churn out 1.2 million wafers per month when completed, and provide employment for a staff of 1,500.
Other Semiconductor Industry Developments in the US
TSMC completed construction of its Fab21 in Phoenix, Arizona in June, and the last we heard was readying the facility to move in the precision equipment vital to its business. It will have a manufacturing capacity of about 100,000 wafers per month.
Micron broke ground on its $15B Idaho memory chip plant on Monday. Eventually it expects the new fab to account for 40% of its global output.
Intel also began construction of a new chipmaking facility in the US within recent days. The first of two fabs in Ohio will cost Intel about $20B, and is expected to come online in 2025.
A week or two prior to this flurry of activity, we wrote a feature overview of the US Semiconductor Renaissance, which covers some information about the above, as well as further information about Intel (New Mexico), Samsung, Texas Instruments, and GlobalFoundries.