TSMC says construction has started on Arizona chip factory

June 1 (Reuters) - Construction has started at a site in Arizona where Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) plans to spend $12 billion to build a computer chip factory, its top executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the company’s annual symposium, held online for the second straight year because of the pandemic, TSMC Chief Executive C.C. Wei said the planned factory remains on track to start volume production of chips using the company’s 5-nanometer production technology starting in 2024.

TSMC is expected to be one of several companies, including Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, competing for some of the $54 billion in subsides for the chip industry that advanced in the United States Senate last week.

Reuters previously reported that TSMC plans to build as many as six factories at the Arizona site over a 10- to 15-year span.

Wei also said the company has developed a version of its 5-nanometer chipmaking process certified for use by automakers for advanced applications like artificial intelligence, though the new offering is unlikely to alleviate current chip shortages idling car plants because the shortages are of less advanced chips.

Wei also said TSMC’s next generation of 3-nanometer chipmaking technology remains on track to start volume production at the company’s “Fab 18” factory in Tainan, Taiwan in the second half of next year.

TSMC plans to invest $30 billion this year and $100 billion over the next three years, Wei said. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco Editing by David Holmes)