Apple processor supplier TSMC, which is looking to ensure a “fast ramp up” of its new Arizona Factory, is sending additional workers from Taiwan to work on the plant for this “critical phase.”
TSMC announced its plans to build an advanced fabrication plant in 2020, then tripled its investment to $40 billion in 2022. The first chip fabrication plant in Arizona is due to open in 2024, and now the company says it needs the “skilled expertise” of more Taiwanese staff.
Reuters reports that while the firm has announced the move, it hasn’t yet said how many workers it will be sending. The firm says the extra Taiwanese staff will only be in Arizona for a short amount of time.
“Given we are now in a critical phase handling all of the most advanced and dedicated equipment in a sophisticated facility, we require skilled expertise,” the company told Reuters.
TSMC did say that the new Taiwanese workers are not replacing any of the current 12,000 employees, nor has it made changes in its U.S. recruitment plans.
Some TSMC managers have concerns about TSMC’s plans for the United States. Taiwanese engineers are accustomed to working long hours and on weekends. There are concerns that American workers are unlikely to want to follow a similar schedule.
Wayne Chiu, an engineer who left TSMC in 2022, said he considered joining the Arizona facility but realized he would likely have to “pick up the slack” for US workers.
“The most difficult thing about wafer manufacturing is not technology,” he said. “The most difficult thing is personnel management. Americans are the worst at this because Americans are the most difficult to manage.”
Three other TSMC employees said that it was a challenge to standardize processes among US engineers, as they questioned their approaches. In Taiwan, engineers follow orders without question.