TSMC shares slide even as Taiwan plays down Intel expansion

Logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), in Hsinchu

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) fell on Wednesday after Intel Corp announced a $20 billion plan to expand its advanced chip manufacturing capacity, even as Taiwan’s economy minister sought to downplay the impact.

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Intel said on Tuesday it will build two factories in Arizona and open its plants to outside customers, directly challenging the two other companies in the world that can make the most advanced chips – TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Shares in TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer with clients including Apple Inc and Qualcomm Inc, fell as much as 3% on Wednesday morning, compared with a drop of around 1% on the broader market.

TSMC announced plans last May to build a $12 billion factory in Arizona, in an apparent win by the then-Trump administration in its push to wrestle global tech supply chains back from China.

Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said Intel’s plan was “not a challenge” to the island’s formidable semiconductor industry.

“First of all I believe that our whole semiconductor ecosystem is very good, and secondly our manufacturers are awesome, and are continually advancing their technology,” she said.

Wang said she would be happy to see Taiwan-U.S. cooperation on semiconductors “but of course we still hope they can increase their investment in Taiwan.”

The move by Intel’s new Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger aims to restore Intel’s reputation after manufacturing stumbles sent shares plunging last year.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee, writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Jane Wardell)