Taiwan’s GlobalWafers sees Nov groundbreaking for $5 billion Texas plant

By Sarah Wu

TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan’s GlobalWafers Co Ltd expects to start construction in November of its new $5 billion plant in Texas, the company’s chairwoman and CEO said on Tuesday.

The company said in June it would build the plant to make 300-millimetre silicon wafers used in semiconductors, switching from a defunct plan to invest in Germany.

Chairwoman and chief executive Doris Hsu told reporters in Taipei that the groundbreaking ceremony was expected to be around the end of November.

The United States has been encouraging foreign tech firms to manufacture in the country, and the government has welcomed the investment by GlobalWafers.

Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the Chips and Science Act, which authorized about $52 billion in government subsidies for U.S. semiconductor production and research, and an investment tax credit for chip plants estimated to be worth $24 billion.

Hsu said that subsidies, while important, were not the only consideration.

“We received government subsidy proposals from not only the United States but from other places as well. But our assessment looks at the overall score. The Chips Act is a very important factor but it is not the only factor,” Hsu said.

“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.”

GlobalWafer’s investment will be the first silicon wafer facility to be built in the United States in more than two decades, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), a major Apple Inc supplier and the world’s largest contract chipmaker, last year started construction of a semiconductor factory in Arizona on which it plans to spend $12 billion.

GlobalWafers’ Taipei-listed shares closed 1% lower on Tuesday, underpeforming the broader market, which ended up 0.6%. The company’s shares are down 48% so far this year.

(Reporting by Sarah Wu; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Bradley Perrett)