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Sony and Honda snap up TSMC’s Japan plant capacity before it even opens

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s leading chip manufacturer, has reached full capacity for bookings at its first chip plant in Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture, despite not having commenced mass production, according to reports by Taiwanese media outlet Economic Daily News.

The new plant, which is expected to start operations in the fall of 2024, has already secured a number of prominent customers, including Sony Semiconductor and Honda. The plant will utilize 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer processes and have a monthly production capacity of 45,000 12-inch wafers.

Sony Semiconductor, who jointly built the Kumamoto plant with TSMC, is one of the key customers of the new facility. The company is the leading image sensor maker in the world and supplies chips to major smartphone makers such as Apple and Huawei. However, Sony Semiconductor’s President, Teruji Shimizu, stated in a meeting on Saturday that the Kumamoto plant’s capacity falls short of meeting Sony’s chip requirements.

Another major customer of the Kumamoto plant is Honda, who confirmed that it has placed an order for automotive semiconductors directly with TSMC for the first time. The automaker has been facing a severe chip shortage that has affected its production and sales amid the global semiconductor crisis. Honda hopes to secure a stable supply of chips from TSMC to cope with the increasing demand for electric vehicles and smart cars.

TSMC’s expansion in Japan is part of its global strategy to diversify its production base and meet the growing demand for chips from various industries. The company has also announced plans to build a $12 billion plant in Arizona, USA, and is considering a potential second plant in Japan. TSMC President Mark Liu disclosed during a shareholder meeting in June that the company is evaluating various factors such as market demand, technology development, and government support before making a final decision on the second plant.

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