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TSMC, Samsung want slice of America's $52b chip subsidies

Don't forget about our big stateside expansion plans, say Asian foundries

Contract chip manufacturers TSMC and Samsung Electronics reportedly want to ensure they can receive some part of the $52 billion in subsidies the United States plans to use to expand the country's chipmaking footprint.

Intel, which hopes to compete against TSMC and Samsung with a rejuvenated foundry business, has placed itself front-and-center in discussions about the need for funding for semiconductor research and manufacturing in America. Specifically, the x86 giant is waiting for Congress to pass the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, which would unlock the aforementioned billions in subsidies for American chip factories.

But while US-headquartered Intel and its forthcoming multibillion-dollar manufacturing plants in Arizona and Ohio would likely benefit from the CHIPS for America Act, Taiwan-based TSMC and South Korea's Samsung have established foundry businesses with more advanced manufacturing nodes, and they both have multibillion-dollar plans to build new fabs in Arizona and Texas, respectively.

Bloomberg reported Monday that the two Asian foundry giants spoke out about the need for the US to consider chip subsidies for companies headquartered outside of the nation yet building on American soil, after Intel once proposed that the US only use the $52 billion in funding for domestic companies. However, as the news wire noted, Intel has not brought up this point in recent times.   

"Arbitrary favoritism and preferential treatment based on the location of a company's headquarters is not an effective or efficient use of the grant and ignores the reality of public ownership for most of the leading semiconductor companies," TSMC said in a statement to the US Department of Commerce that also suggested the US focus on leading-edge nodes, according to Bloomberg.

Samsung's statement was along the same lines as TSMC's, underlining the need for chip subsidies to be provided "on an even playing field."

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger urged Congress last week alongside Micron Technology, another US-based semiconductor company, to pass funding swiftly to boost America's semiconductor industry. While the Senate and House of Representatives have each passed a version of the spending legislation, they have yet to reconcile the bills' differences.

"We've already wasted several quarters since the Senate acted last year, and now it's time for us to move forward rapidly," Gelsinger said. ®

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