All eggs in one basket: Apple’s Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) for iPhone, iPad and Mac are now all made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, TSMC for short. But not only the manufacturer of the Apple silicon chips is the same, but also the production site: Whether A16, M2 or the upcoming A17 in the 3 nm process, they have all been manufactured in Taiwan so far, which is known to be under great geopolitical pressure . So it’s hardly surprising that Apple has been trying to bring parts of the production home for several years. The problem: The construction of a large TSMC factory in Arizona, which could also supply AMD and Nvidia in the future, is progressing slowly – and recently there is also gossip about a “culture clash” between the company bosses from Taiwan, their emissaries in the USA and the new local employees.
Employees from Taiwan should help
The latest status regarding the start of 4nm production in Phoenix: This has been postponed to 2025. In late July, TSMC Chairman Mark Liu announced there were “certain challenges, including an insufficient amount of skilled workers” who have the necessary experience to install the machines necessary for the semiconductor industry. For this reason, temporary employees from Taiwan were sent to train the new US employees.
However, this is exactly where problems arise. According to media reports, US unions are working to ensure that people are denied work visas. In Taiwan, on the other hand, popular YouTube channels are providing images of American TSMC employees who are said to be sitting lazily in the factory and scrolling on their cell phones. “Can a photo ruin TSMC?” it says in the headline.
TSMC mentoring program
Meanwhile, US workers have posted excerpts from Taiwanese forums on Facebook, which 9to5Mac reported contained anti-American content. Former employees speak of “chaotic and unsafe” conditions in the factory.
Months ago, TSMC circles said that such reports were exaggerated. The company tries to impart the necessary knowledge via a mentoring system. US engineers come to Taiwan for several weeks to months to be trained. Everyone has their own “buddy” from the company. It remains to be seen whether this will help with the cooperation. TSMC is currently in the process of greatly expanding its international activities – also thanks to plenty of flowing subsidies. A separate chip factory is planned in Saxony, but not for Apple.
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