Taiwan Water pledges secure supply for TSMC

From : China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government hasn't given up on persuading Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電) to build its next plant in Taiwan, with the state water supplier promising that a stable supply wouldn't be a problem.

Nearly a month since Taiwan was rattled by news that TSMC may be planning to build its most advanced plant yet in the U.S. instead of Kaohsiung, state-run Taiwan Water Corp. (台水公司) said Wednesday it would speed up efforts to reduce water loss by the time the nation's top chip-maker is scheduled to finish building the plant.

The southern city of Kaohsiung has long suffered serious water shortages, facing worse water stress than Taiwan's five other special municipalities of New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei and Taoyuan.

Taiwan Water Chairman Kuo Chun-ming (郭俊銘) reportedly said that TSMC boss Morris Chang (張忠謀) had met with him last year to ask whether the water supply would be reliable if they decided to build a plant in Taiwan.

"Absolutely no problem," Kuo told Chang.

Taiwan Water has invested NT$79.59 billion in a leakage-reduction program across its water supply network.

The effort, launched in 2013, aims to reduce the nationwide leakage rate to below 14.25 percent within 10 years, starting with Kaohsiung, Keelung and Taichung.

Kuo said TSMC would require three to five years to complete foundry construction on its new plant, and that the water company's goal was to complete the leakage-reduction program within five years.

Program measures include leakage repair, pressure control and pipeline management.

Taiwan's leakage rate dropped from 24.58 percent in 2003 to 19.53 percent in 2013, according to Taiwan Water figures.

By the time the program's targets are reached, Kuo said, Kaohsiung will be able to save an estimated 67,000 tons of water per day. "And TMSC will have more than enough water in Kaohsiung. Water shortages will not be an issue."

TSMC previously announced plans to build a 3-nanometer (nm) semiconductor plant at a science park in Kaohsiung, but the company was reportedly having second thoughts due to Taiwan's environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. According to the United Daily News, there were fears the plant proposal would fail to pass the assessments in time to meet its scheduled start date for the advanced chip process's mass production in 2022.

The report cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying that factors prompting TSMC to consider switching locations for the NT$500 billion manufacturing site include the EIAs taking too long to complete, unstable electricity supply and air pollution regulations.

TSMC is the world's largest contract chipmaker and a major supplier to Apple Inc. With the introduction of 10nm wafers, TSMC is expected to secure orders for its A11 processor for the next generation of iPhones, which are reportedly scheduled for launch in the second half of this year.