Asia Power Businesswoman Doris Hsu Talks About GlobalWafers’ New $5 Billion U.S. Plant, Daring Yourself To Achieve

The U.S. is working to spice up home manufacturing of semiconductors, and passage of the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act this 12 months helps to draw funding from the likes of Intel, Samsung, GlobalFoundries and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, higher referred to as TSMC.

One other Taiwan-based trade provider increasing within the U.S. is GlobalWafers, one of many world’s largest producers of silicon wafers utilized in making chips. In June, it stated it might make investments as much as $5 billion in a plant in Sherman, Texas, creating as many as 1,500 jobs. Groundbreaking on the primary silicon wafer plant to be constructed within the U.S. in twenty years shall be held on Dec. 1. GlobalWafers already has vegetation within the U.S., mainland China, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Denmark and Italy; it competes towards the likes of Shin-Etsu, Sumco and Siltronic, and boasts a buyer listing that features IBM, Sharp and Panasonic.

Primarily based on her success thus far, GlobalWafers Chairman CEO Doris Hsu made the 2022 Asia Energy Businesswomen Checklist unveiled by Forbes Asia this month. I talked to the holder of a graduate diploma in pc science from College of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana by Zoom from the corporate’s headquarters in Hsinchu on Wednesday. We mentioned the brand new Texas mission, how geopolitics is influencing the corporate’s investments, and Hsu’s recommendation for fulfillment. “Do not measure your self by what you will have already achieved,” she stated. “You need to measure your self by what you possibly can obtain along with your means.” Edited excerpts comply with.

Flannery: How did you decide Sherman on your newest U.S. funding? You might have one other manufacturing unit there already.

Hsu: That’s right. We do have a silicon epi (epitaxial) wafer operation in Sherman established in 1999. At the moment, we have been simply one of many small shareholders of the corporate. However in 2008, we bought 100% of the shares. It is now an important entity for us within the U.S. and is by far the biggest eight-inch silicon wafer epi operation within the trade. It’s very profitable, and all of our administration crew members are previously from Texas Devices. That is a great crew.

Why make the brand new funding within the U.S.? On Feb. 1, we introduced that we weren’t in a position to make an acquisition of a German firm, Siltronic. We then instantly picked Plan B — natural progress. That implies that we’ve to do quite a lot of enlargement on our present brownfield campuses. We at the moment are increasing in six international locations however that is not sufficient as a result of our clients need to get extra from us; one other essential level for purchasers is geopolitical issues. Many purchasers are inviting us to construct an operation of their nation. They do not need to see an enormous Taiwan firm, GlobalWafers, construct one other new fab in Taiwan. They like to have a neighborhood fab.

So we have been invited by a number of international locations, together with Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the U.S. and European clients. We care lots about whole value competitiveness, regardless of which facet we selected. On the finish of the day, we promote wafers; the wafer positively needs to be of excellent high quality and in addition value aggressive. Value competitiveness is among the essential components for us.

A second one is one thing that everybody is speaking about – ESG and inexperienced options. We discovered that we must be as inexperienced as attainable. Meaning we might higher select a spot the place vitality and electrical energy assets are usually not 100 % from coal.

Additionally, proximity is essential — you must be as shut as attainable to your buyer. Given all of those components, we discovered that the U.S. is the only option. We have now quite a lot of U.S. clients and there is little or no silicon wafer capability there. There are massive corporations like Apple, Amazon, Intel and Micron and so many massive foundries and IDMs (built-in machine producers), however there may be little or no superior silicon wafer capability. The final silicon wafer manufacturing unit within the U.S. was constructed 20 years in the past. We’re the very first one prior to now 20 years, and are going to construct the most effective and largest within the U.S. as effectively. I believe that is good.

What’s much more attention-grabbing for us is that President Biden authorized the CHIPS Act. That made this extra attention-grabbing as a result of general building prices within the U.S. are virtually 5 occasions larger than in Taiwan or Asia. The gear value is analogous, however the building value is simply too excessive. If we are able to get authorities help, that positively will make the entire mission make extra industrial sense for us. The CHIPS Act helps lots from a price competitiveness viewpoint.

One more reason for us to decide on the U.S. is that in Taiwan, it is not that straightforward to seek out a big piece of land and ample energy provide. For silicon wafers, you want numerous house. We discovered that Texas is an efficient location for us as a result of we are able to additionally get house moderately readily there.

Flannery: You’ve made Forbes Asia’s Energy Businesswomen Checklist this 12 months in your success within the tech trade. How did your profession curiosity in a STEM subject evolve?

Hsu: I actually favored physics and math after I was younger. And in addition, I do not forget that I discovered from certainly one of our professors (C. L. Liu on the College of Illinois) that nothing in excessive tech or science is simple. It’s extremely tough. Solely the most effective one can go as much as the very high and keep there. I believed I’d like to remain there very a lot (laughs). I believed, “Perhaps I can attempt slightly little bit of this.” That was the background.

Flannery: With a lot alternative in STEM-related fields, what sort of profession recommendation do you give to college students and graduates, notably girls?

Hsu: A pair months in the past, I used to be invited to offer a chat at one of many excellent ladies’ excessive colleges in Taiwan. My closing to the younger women was: “Dare to dream — you possibly can positively obtain way more than you possibly can think about.” Regardless of whether or not you might be ladies or boys, so long as you dare to dream, you possibly can obtain way more than what you possibly can think about.

Additionally, I say to our crew – which incorporates many females — and what I remind myself is: “Do not measure your self by what you will have already achieved. You need to measure your self by what you possibly can obtain along with your means.” I imagine we are able to all the time do a lot better than what we think about ourselves.

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Jean Nicholas

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