TSMC declines to comment on Huawei

18 May, 2020

By ICRT and ECCT staff writers


Taiwan-based contract semiconductor manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Company (TSMC) has declined to say whether it has stopped accepting purchase orders from Huawei. TSMC said it won't reveal client details, but emphasizes that it will abide by the law.


The comments follow a report by Japanese newspaper, Nihon Kei-zai Shim-bun, that said TSMC has stopped new orders from the Chinese tech giant in response to Washington's move aimed at further limiting chip supplies to the company.


The Trump administration issued a new rule on 15 May that will bar Huawei and its suppliers from using American technology and software. TSMC is a key Huawei supplier.


According to the report, orders which TSMC took before the new ban and those already in production are not impacted and could continue to proceed if those chips could be shipped before mid-September.

The world's biggest contract chip maker said today that it is discussing related legal matters with its American lawyers to assess the impact of and possible responses to the US ban.


According to a news report in CNA, citing TSMC's 2019 annual report, by geographical location, 20% of its sales were in China while the US accounted for about 60%. The same CNA report quoted an IC Insights report which stated that HiSilicon, a wholly-owned IC design unit of Huawei, had become a major TSMC client, accounting for 14% of TSMC's total sales in 2019, up from 5% in 2017.


The latest news comes days after TSMC announced that it would invest US$12 billion to build a new fabrication plant in Arizona in the United States, a move that analysts have said was prompted by escalating geopolitical tensions between the US and China. 

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