TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world's largest contract chipmaker, will consider sites in Taiwan before offshore options when it decides the location of a multi-billion dollar foundry early next year, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.
In January, TSMC Chairman Morris Chang said he would not rule out the development of a U.S. plant but that such a move would involve sacrifices for both the company and consumers, pointing to the logistical benefits of being able to shift engineers across the firm's Taiwan factories.
"We do not exclude locations in other countries, but a Taiwan location will be our first consideration," acting spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun told reporters on the sidelines of a shareholders' meeting on Thursday.
She said the Taiwan government was helping the company find the ideal location for the 3-nanometer chip plant.
TSMC, a major supplier to Apple Inc, has also flagged plans for the development of 5-nanometer chip plant. A Taiwan location for that factory is under review, Sun said.
The company's deliberations about its production base come even as other tech heavyweights, like Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, which goes by the trade name of Foxconn, and Japan's SoftBank Group Corp, look to deepen investment in their U.S. businesses. This follows Donald Trump's presidential win last year, built on a campaign promise to boost American manufacturing and protect local jobs.
Chang also downplayed TSMC's decision to pull out of the race for Toshiba Corp's highly-prized chip business.
"This kind of opportunity will be there in the future," Chang said in response to shareholders' questions.
(Reporting by Jess Macy Yu and J.R. Wu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Edwina Gibbs)