"It should be soon, but I don't know how soon," said a spokesman for the company. TSMC is hoping to take advantage of China's growing semiconductor market
TSMC recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Songjiang district government in Shanghai to construct one 200-millimetre fabrication plant there. The facility will employ used chip-making equipment and is expected to produce chips using older process technologies up to a 0.25-micron process, he said.
While 0.25-micron and older processes are several generations behind the most advanced chip-making technology employed by TSMC, these older processes represented just under half of the company's sales during the second quarter of 2002.
Reports in Taiwan have claimed TSMC could build up to four fabrication plants in Shanghai but company officials have remained tight-lipped on their plans for China. "Both parties have agreed not to comment on the specific details of the memorandum of understanding," the TSMC spokesman said.