This is a developing story.
Update: The Taiwanese government has stated that 75% of power has been restored with the rest to be up and running by Thursday night.
As we all know, Taiwan is the central hub of semiconductor manufacturing around the world. TSMC alone holds 53% of the global semiconductor market share so it’s safe to say that Taiwan and semiconductors are synonymous by now. Apple also employs TSMC for all of its in-house chips, from the M1 to the Bionic chips found in iPhones, all are manufactured by TSMC in Taiwan.
Since Apple has been working with TSMC for so long, production is generally smooth and operations rarely ever get halted or affected in any way. However, tragedy struck this Thursday (March 3, 2022) when Taiwan reported nationwide power outages that severely impacted its two biggest cities, one of which houses the primary production facility for iPhone processors, and over 5 million households in total.
TSMC’s iPhone chip factory possibly affected
Nikkei Asia broke the news internationally, informing readers of the possible affect this outage could have on the iPhone factory that’s located in Southern Taiwan. Taipei, the country’s capital, alongside Kaohsiung were victims of the power outage. Kaohsiung is the country’s second biggest city and home to the main iPhone chip manufacturing factory.
Taiwan Power Co. said in a brief statement that its southern power grid system encountered a malfunction causing blackouts in southern Taiwan. Knock-on effects from the outage triggered power outages in some parts of northern and central Taiwan as well.
The malfunction took place at Kaohsiung’s Hsinta Power Plant, the biggest power plant in southern Taiwan, according to the company. The iPhone processor production hub is in Tainan, in southern Taiwan. – Nikkei Asia
We’re not exactly certain on the impact this brought upon the iPhone plant or if it even had any notable affect for TSMC but the news coverage does paint a grim picture. With outages this severe affecting every part of the city, there is a high probability that TSMC’s plant was also subject to it but we don’t have any update or official word on that as of now.
Tainan Science Park — the site of TSMC’s most cutting-edge chip production plants for iPhone processors — reported sudden and abnormal voltage changes to the site’s power supply but said it is still determining whether those changes have had any impact on the park. (…) TSMC said on Thursday morning it was still checking whether the power outages across the island have affected its operations. – Nikkei Asia
Wang Mei-Hua, the economic minister of Taiwan stated that it would take some time to restore power in Southern Taiwan as “restarting power plants take some time, too“. President Tsai Ing-Wen, meanwhile, apologized for the massive power outage. We will update this story as more information comes out or if any major details are made public. For now, you can read Nikkei Asia’s report on the matter to stay informed.