Taiwan approves chipmaker TSMC's plan to invest $3.5 bln in new Arizona plant

HONG KONG, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, has received government approval to go ahead with the first phase of a new plant in the U.S. state of Arizona with an initial investment of $3.5 billion.

Taiwan’s ministry of economic affairs, which must authorise major overseas investments by Taiwan companies, said on Tuesday that it had approved TSMC’s application for the investment.

It is part of a plan TSMC announced in May to build a $12 billion factory in Arizona, in an apparent win by the Trump administration in its push to wrestle global tech supply chains back from China.

TSMC plans to set up a 12-inch wafer fabrication plant in Phoenix, Arizona and the facility is expected to start volume production in 2024, Taiwan’s investment commission of the ministry of economic affairs said in a statement.

TSMC manufactures the bulk of its chips in Taiwan and has older chip facilities in China and the U.S. state of Washington.

The company has said construction of the Arizona facility would start in 2021, with production slated to begin in 2024, producing up to 20,000 silicon wafers a month. (Reporting by Meg Shen; Editing by Susan Fenton)