With TSMC, Intel investing billions, chips could be Arizona’s sixth C

Dec 13, 2022, 4:15 AM

President Joe Biden tours the building site for a new computer chip plant for Taiwan Semiconductor ...

President Joe Biden tours the building site for a new computer chip plant for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

PHOENIX — There’s been a C change of sorts in Arizona’s economy, which has long been known for copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate.

“We’ve joked that you should add a sixth C to our economy and have it be called chips,” Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Monday.

Seiden said massive investments by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Intel have made Arizona “the premier state for semiconductors.”

“And that matters to everything from what you’re putting in your refrigerator or your car or your cellphone to national defense, as well, and national security,” he said. “And that’s all being made right here in Arizona.”

Seiden says TSMC, which has committed $40 million to build two microchip fabrication plants in north Phoenix, and Intel, which is spending $20 billion to expand to its chipmaking capacity in Chandler, are creating a long-term “semiconductor ecosystem” with high-paying tech jobs.

“That is anywhere from, I’ve heard, 13,000 to 15,000 jobs just in the supplier side,” he said. “Those are small businesses that produce the chemicals, that produce the fabrication materials, the packing materials — that whole supply chain is being onshored right here in Arizona, and that’s a fantastic thing for our future.”

In the shorter term, tens of thousands of construction workers will be needed to build the TSMC plants and housing for 4,500 future employees.

The TSMC project is important enough on the national landscape to warrant a visit from President Joe Biden last week.

The construction near Interstate 17 and Loop 303 will spur additional development in the area, too, Seiden said.

“People living up in the northwest Valley are going to have a completely different neighborhood on their hands,” he said. “And I think that’s a great thing.”

Seiden also noted that TSMC will have room to expand.

“When you go out there and you look at what that site looks like, you can tell they’re not going to stop at just this $40 billion investment,” Seiden said. “There’s a lot of space and a lot of room to grow.”

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With TSMC, Intel investing billions, chips could be Arizona’s sixth C