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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing has started work on a $12 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant in Arizona. The move is part of what's expected to be a flurry of new U.S. construction due to a global shortage, combined with the prospect of government subsidies.

Why it matters: Computer chips are seen as vital for both national security and economic prosperity. The U.S., once responsible for 36% of global output, now accounts for only a third of that.

Driving the news: TSMC announced the start of Arizona construction at a company event in Taiwan Monday, per Reuters, with CEO C.C. Wei saying that volume production from the plant will begin in 2024.

Flashback: A highly touted deal with Foxconn in the early days of the Trump administration to build a massive LCD-making operation in Wisconsin fizzled, with the company agreeing in April to create a much smaller operation there.

The big picture: A global chip shortage has made semiconductors a hot topic of conversation, but the industry remains heavily concentrated in Taiwan and Korea, especially for the most advanced chips.

  • Congress has authorized billions of dollars in funding to spur domestic chip production, but has yet to pass a bill actually providing the funds.
  • U.S. chip leader Intel has also said it wants to reinvest in its domestic manufacturing capacity, announcing a $20 billion effort to build two new plants in Arizona and $3.5 billion in new investment to expand its chipmaking operations in New Mexico.

Yes, but: Investments made now will take years to bear fruit and sustained investment will be needed to keep the U.S. competitive for the long term.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Aug 31, 2021 - Economy & Business

The state of space startups

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Space startups garnered record investment last year, according to a new report.

Why it matters: The influx — despite the coronavirus pandemic — shows that investors are still interested in the growing industry and see relatively young companies as worthy of funding.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

COP26 head warns Glasgow summit will be "harder than Paris"

Alok Sharma, U.K. COP26 president, in Milan on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

U.K. COP26 President Alok Sharma told reporters Tuesday that the upcoming talks in Glasgow, widely viewed as the last chance to avoid some of the worst consequences of global warming, will be extremely difficult.

Driving the news: Sharma sought to temper expectations and note that the agenda features some of the toughest items that negotiators have punted on at previous summits.