The Rundown: TSMC Japan Expansion, Record High Exports, and Evergreen’s Blockbuster Q3

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TSMC and Sony to Build Japan Chip Plant

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp. (SSS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Group, announced on November 9 the joint establishment of Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc. (JASM) in Kumamoto, Japan. Construction of JASM’s first fab is scheduled to commence next year, with production to begin in 2024. The initial capital expenditure for the fab, which will produce chips using 22- and 28-nanometer technology, is estimated at US$7 billion.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and TSMC have been in discussions regarding the company’s Japan expansion for over a year. METI has expressed hope that JASM will revive the Japanese semiconductor industry and help address the global semiconductor shortage. The Kumamoto fab is expected to have a monthly production capacity of 45,000 12-inch wafers and to create 1,500 high-tech jobs.

Exports Reach Record High in October

Taiwan’s exports expanded for the 16th consecutive month in October. According to the Ministry of Finance, exports last month grew by 24.6% year-on-year to US$40.14 billion, the highest monthly figure on record. Cumulative exports in the first 10 months of this year totaled US$364.2 billion, representing annual growth of 30%.

Exports of base metals grew by a record 65.2% from the same month last year, while information and communication and audio-visual product exports rose by 26.9%. Exports to Europe, the United States, and Japan all hit single-month highs, rising year-on-year by 44.8%, 29.4%, and 23.1%, respectively.

Evergreen Reports Record Quarterly Profit

Evergreen Marine Corp., the largest container cargo shipping company in Taiwan, announced on November 8 third-quarter net profit of NT$80.13 billion (US$2.88 billion), an 880% rise from a year earlier and the highest quarterly profit in the company’s history. During the same period, Evergreen’s operational costs rose only 7%, supporting the company’s third-quarter revenue growth of 160% year-on-year and single-quarter gross profit margin of 69%.

Evergreen Shipping General Manager Hsieh Huey-chuan noted that the company’s gangbusters revenue growth can be attributed to the global shortage of shipping containers, clogged ports, and labor shortages in the U.S. and Europe, which have led to near-record-high freight rates.