Ducey visits Taiwan, Korea to promote semiconductor industry

Governor Doug Ducey arrived in Taiwan Tuesday morning as part of a five-day trip that will include a stay in the Republic of Korea focused on growing the semiconductor industry in Arizona.

Ducey will meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and executives from high-tech manufacturing companies. He will also deliver a keynote address to a group of American and Taiwanese business leaders.

In 2021, trade between Arizona and Taiwan totaled $1.92 billion.

The largest foreign direct investment ever in Arizona, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plant, is under construction in North Phoenix near the 303 loop and Interstate 17. The first phase of development represents an investment $12 billion from TSMC.

Ducey was to facilitate the signing of an agreement between the Taiwanese Department of Education and the Arizona Board of Governors to promote collaboration in higher education and workforce training.

The governor’s plans also include a meeting with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu Jau-shieh and US Ambassador Philip Seth Goldberg.

Relationship building

The trip comes less than a month after President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which provides up to $52 billion to help expand the country’s production of semiconductors and related technologies as the world faces a global shortage.

“Arizona has excellent relations with Taiwan and the Republic of Korea,” Ducey said in a statement. “The goal of this trade mission is to take these relationships to the next level – to strengthen them, expand them and ensure that they remain mutually beneficial.”

This year’s state budget included the establishment of foreign trade offices in Taiwan and Korea, which will be launched later this year.

Ducey was accompanied on the trip by Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson and Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Danny Seiden.

TSMC on track for opening in 2024

An aerial photograph shows the construction site of the massive Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plant in North Phoenix.  In June 2022, there were 38 cranes on site.

TSMC purchased over 1,100 acres of land in North Phoenix in 2020 and was building the first phase of its factory, called fab. In the factory, TSMC will manufacture its five-nanometer semiconductor. Once the factory is operational, it will be the most advanced chip manufacturing process in the country, according to TSMC.

The factory was supposed to open in 2024, but TSMC has already started hiring and training employees. As of June, the company had 500 employees training at Arizona facilities in Taiwan and 100 employees working in Arizona. The company plans to have more than 2,000 employees in Arizona by 2023.

Along with TSMC, a large number of vendors have announced plans to locate or expand into the Valley and Pinal County to service TSMC. These include international and US-based companies that either entered the US market due to TSMC or expanded their operations in the country.

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Opening of supplier companies nearby

Taiwan-based Sunlit Chemical, a manufacturer of hydrofluoric acid, sodium fluoride, ammonium fluoride, phosphoric acid, hydrogen fluoride and other chemicals used in semiconductor manufacturing, began construction in January of its $100 million two-phase plant. The first phase was scheduled to open next year, and the second phase is expected to open in 2024. The plant is located near Deer Valley Airport, in an area designated by Phoenix as a “supplier site” for TSMC.

Taiwan Puritic Corp., a maker and distributor of semiconductor components and products, signed leases in Phoenix and Glendale, marking the company’s entry into the U.S. market, according to TSMC officials.

Kokusai Semiconductor Equipment Corp., which provides process systems for wafer fabrication, has chosen a location in Glendale for parts distribution, training and offices.

In Surprise, US-based Rinchem, a chemical and gas storage and distribution company used by the semiconductor industry, is under construction on a 145,000 square foot warehouse, which was expected to be completed in June 2023 The company bought 21 acres near Dysart Road and Sweetwater Avenue for $4.2 million, according to real estate database Vizzda.

Pinal County Sees Growth for International Businesses

Taiwan-based vendors and other internationals also flocked to Pinal County, congregating at Casa Grande.

LCY Electronic Materials Inc., a Taiwanese producer of chemicals used in the production of semiconductors, including electronic-grade isopropyl alcohol, has purchased land near Burris Road and Gila Bend Highway, according to Vizzda. LCY plans to develop a $100 million manufacturing facility to support the production of five-nanometer semiconductors, the company said.

Taiwan-based Chang Chun Group has purchased 84 acres of land near Clayton and Burris roads, according to Vizzda. According to Casa Grande documents, the company planned to build a 540,000 square foot facility and plans to hire 209 people. Chan Chun’s total capital investment is expected to be around $400 million.

Jing He Science, a Taiwan-based industrial gas company that supplies the semiconductor industry, bought 20 acres near Burris and Peters roads for $1.6 million.

Taiwan-based Kanto-PPC, a supplier of electronic-grade chemicals used in semiconductor production, also purchased 81 acres of land near Burris Road and Ash Avenue in Casa Grande.

Solvay, a Belgian supplier of electronics-grade hydrogen peroxide, also purchased 26 acres from Casa Grande. The company announced that it would develop a new facility to serve the US semiconductor manufacturing market. The facility was expected to create 30 full-time jobs.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @CorinaVanek.

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