TSMC has reportedly asked its primary suppliers of chipmaking tools, including ASML, to hold off on delivering advanced wafer fab equipment due to uncertainties in customer demand and setbacks it faces with its Fab 21 in Arizona. The information comes to us courtesy of a Reuters report that cites two sources with knowledge of the matter.
The report does not explicitly disclose which tools are delayed. However, since it mentions ASML, we imagine that the world's largest contract maker of chips wanted its partner to push back the delivery of lithography scanners, which are among the most expensive tools installed in the fab.
TSMC is currently building several fabs, including two leading-edge facilities in Taiwan and one in the U.S. In addition, the company is constantly adding tools to existing fabs to boost their production capacity. We imagine that the company would slow delivery of new tools to Fab 21 in Arizona due to its setbacks and some of the scanners to existing fabs due to uncertainties with customer demand.
ASML, the world's largest maker of lithography scanners, has been directly impacted by TSMC's decision. Despite acknowledging some order delays in an interview with Reuters last week, ASML's CEO, Peter Wennink, remains optimistic, viewing the situation as a short-lived management challenge. Notably, ASML still projects a robust 30% sales growth for the year.
TSMC has chosen not to comment directly on the situation, instead pointing to previous remarks by its chief executive, C.C. Wei. Previously, Wei highlighted a weakening economic environment and a trend of customers becoming more conservative, factors that might have influenced the company's current stance.