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TSMC’s U.S. Engineers Are “Babies” Say Taiwanese After The Former Leave For America

nghanayem

Active member
Something stinks about this.
1. I think this is partially the nature of semiconductor-manufacturing (Be it TSMC, Samsung, or Intel). I think it is just tougher than being an engineer at a 50 year old soybean oil plant that needs minimal oversight to work at it's peak.
2. TSMC already has a fab in the US, so they should know all about US labor/environmental regulations.
3. It is also hard for me to imagine that TSMC staff would have such a poor opinion of American engineers since Americans make up a large percentage of their upper echelons/CR staff/vendor engineers.
4. It is also unimaginable that anyone would be smoking in the office areas when this is literally not allowed anywhere in the US.
5. Taiwan is struggling with many of their firms outsourcing to the PRC because Taiwanese workers "work less hard" and for more money than their mainlander or Korean counterparts, so it seems like weird claim to make in the first place.

If I'm wrong on this though, and this is the mindset that TSMC management has, then their Arizona fab is likely doomed to be one of the companies worst fabs due to such a poor culture. Here's hoping that this article is mostly hogwash, and that new fabs in the USA and to a lesser extent the EU/Israel prove to any doubters that American/European/Israeli engineers can still be best in class when it comes to making semiconductors.
 

hist78

Well-known member
Something stinks about this.
1. I think this is partially the nature of semiconductor-manufacturing (Be it TSMC, Samsung, or Intel). I think it is just tougher than being an engineer at a 50 year old soybean oil plant that needs minimal oversight to work at it's peak.
2. TSMC already has a fab in the US, so they should know all about US labor/environmental regulations.
3. It is also hard for me to imagine that TSMC staff would have such a poor opinion of American engineers since Americans make up a large percentage of their upper echelons/CR staff/vendor engineers.
4. It is also unimaginable that anyone would be smoking in the office areas when this is literally not allowed anywhere in the US.
5. Taiwan is struggling with many of their firms outsourcing to the PRC because Taiwanese workers "work less hard" and for more money than their mainlander or Korean counterparts, so it seems like weird claim to make in the first place.

If I'm wrong on this though, and this is the mindset that TSMC management has, then their Arizona fab is likely doomed to be one of the companies worst fabs due to such a poor culture. Here's hoping that this article is mostly hogwash, and that new fabs in the USA and to a lesser extent the EU/Israel prove to any doubters that American/European/Israeli engineers can still be best in class when it comes to making semiconductors.

I saw this particular article the other day but laughed at it. The author is lacking some basic ability to write a creditable report.

There are some serious problems he intentionally made into that article:

First:

Article title: TSMC’s U.S. Engineers Are “Babies” Say Taiwanese After The Former Leave For America

Who are the "Taiwanese" mentioned in the article's title?

What I can tell the "baby" calling was from two or three posters on the Taiwan's PPT website, something similar to the Reddit.com with tons of gossips. The author Ramish Zafar went ahead to label it as the common opinion of the Taiwanese or hinted the opinions are coming from TSMC employees.

In reality we can't tell for sure those PPT posters are real TSMC employees, real Taiwanese, a person with multiple accounts talking to himself/herself, a sabotage team sent in by North Korea's Kim, or a bunch of special agents dispatched by Darth Vader.

There are several Internet threads spreading in US with the belief that the Covid-19 vaccine came with small mind control chips sponsored by Bill Gates.

By the same token, Mr. Ramesh Zafar of wfcctech.com should write an article with a title: "Bill Gates is Controlling People's Mind Through Covid-19 vaccine Say American".

Second:

TSMC founder Morris Chang's photo is posted just below the article's title with a description named him as "Zhang Zhongmou". Nobody in Taiwan or US calls Mr. Chang that way. "Zhang Zhongmou" is a mainland China's spelling method.

I think Mr. Ramesh Zafar intentionally tried to tie this baby calling thing to TSMC or Dr. Chang based on an unverifiable Internet chat.

Why Mr. Ramesh Zafar wrote such poor quality article based on a shaky Internet chat? It's probably wasting our time to figure it out.
 

lilo777

Active member
I saw this particular article the other day but laughed at it. The author is lacking some basic ability to write a creditable report.

There are some serious problems he intentionally made into that article:

First:

Article title: TSMC’s U.S. Engineers Are “Babies” Say Taiwanese After The Former Leave For America

Who are the "Taiwanese" mentioned in the article's title?

What I can tell the "baby" calling was from two or three posters on the Taiwan's PPT website, something similar to the Reddit.com with tons of gossips. The author Ramish Zafar went ahead to label it as the common opinion of the Taiwanese or hinted the opinions are coming from TSMC employees.

In reality we can't tell for sure those PPT posters are real TSMC employees, real Taiwanese, a person with multiple accounts talking to himself/herself, a sabotage team sent in by North Korea's Kim, or a bunch of special agents dispatched by Darth Vader.

There are several Internet threads spreading in US with the belief that the Covid-19 vaccine came with small mind control chips sponsored by Bill Gates.

By the same token, Mr. Ramesh Zafar of wfcctech.com should write an article with a title: "Bill Gates is Controlling People's Mind Through Covid-19 vaccine Say American".

Second:

TSMC founder Morris Chang's photo is posted just below the article's title with a description named him as "Zhang Zhongmou". Nobody in Taiwan or US calls Mr. Chang that way. "Zhang Zhongmou" is a mainland China's spelling method.

I think Mr. Ramesh Zafar intentionally tried to tie this baby calling thing to TSMC or Dr. Chang based on an unverifiable Internet chat.

Why Mr. Ramesh Zafar wrote such poor quality article based on a shaky Internet chat? It's probably wasting our time to figure it out.
The source indeed might not be very credible. But one should not expect a TSMC employee say this sort of things under real name (they are not that stupid). So if the report does reflect a sentiment of the actual TSMC employee, the sourcing can only be in the form of an anonymous internet poster.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Morris Chang already said TSMC build fabs in the US isn't a good idea,so it won't be a surprise if it end up badly

Morris doesn't speak for TSMC. Having worked with TSMC for the last 30 years I can tell you that the company went through a big change when Morris left. CC Wei is a much more effective leader. I also know the person who is leading the AZ fab efforts and I can tell you that it will be successful without a doubt. Times change so picking outdated quotes to support your personal agenda is not professional.
 
Morris doesn't speak for TSMC. Having worked with TSMC for the last 30 years I can tell you that the company went through a big change when Morris left. CC Wei is a much more effective leader. I also know the person who is leading the AZ fab efforts and I can tell you that it will be successful without a doubt. Times change so picking outdated quotes to support your personal agenda is not professional.
I love how C.C and Wendell deal with the obligatory avalanche of stupid questions by wallstreet analysts every quarter. It’s always good for a laugh.
 

blueone

Well-known member
Taiwanese companies didn't have much success of manufacturing in the US. Remember Foxconn's Wisconsin plant?Once referred as "the eighth wonder of the world" by Trump
Foxconn never executed for whatever reason, and came out looking foolish. Apparently they did build some server motherboards there, which is, as we all know, mostly an automated process. Still, US environmental laws make board stuffing and assembly comparatively expensive. I remember the announcements, and I never understood what Foxconn was hoping to accomplish, though later I wondered if this was to be the assembly facility for the long-rumored Apple car. No matter how you look at it, this wasn't a failure of manufacturing, this was just a failed strategy.

 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
I love how C.C and Wendell deal with the obligatory avalanche of stupid questions by wallstreet analysts every quarter. It’s always good for a laugh.

I attended an investor call live in Taipei one time. It was a very entertaining event. It was like being at an awards ceremony here in the US. Paparazzi were everywhere, the place was packed, and CC is much funnier in person. You definitely lose a lot of information, facial expressions, body language, etc... over the phone. CC is definitely one of the best CEOs in semiconductor. Jensen Huang is another. I would never bet against them.
 

nghanayem

Active member
I attended an investor call live in Taipei one time. It was a very entertaining event. It was like being at an awards ceremony here in the US. Paparazzi were everywhere, the place was packed, and CC is much funnier in person. You definitely lose a lot of information, facial expressions, body language, etc... over the phone. CC is definitely one of the best CEOs in semiconductor. Jensen Huang is another. I would never bet against them.
Good to know (not that I'm likely to ever meet the man). Always good to see a lively or funny engineer.
 

Paul2

Active member
Morris doesn't speak for TSMC. Having worked with TSMC for the last 30 years I can tell you that the company went through a big change when Morris left. CC Wei is a much more effective leader. I also know the person who is leading the AZ fab efforts and I can tell you that it will be successful without a doubt. Times change so picking outdated quotes to support your personal agenda is not professional.

Wei is more MBA minded, and more American cultured, despite living in the US less than Chang, and not having a business school experience behind him. This is what was his undoing when Chang had to move in back to fix after the duo I believe.

At around first time Wei's first try as Co-CEO, he pushed for abstract "business performance" too much, while forgetting about what was happening on the ground (TSMCs 16nm-28nm train wreck,) leading to a mess-up a decade ago. Definitely a man who was conditioned to go after "new exciting things."
 

mozartct

Member
We can ignore the content of this blog post (smoking gives it away!). That said, we cannot ignore that:

1) wages are in fact considerably lower in Taiwan (within our industry) with a cost of living comparable to here, albeit a little lower. It was rumored that this is a result of collusion between the large IC makers. So i can accept that there would be some a priori resentment.
2) The people who went to Taiwan for training were not veterans but mostly new grads. They would not have contributed much while in Taiwan, specially considering that the day to day language is Mandarin with some Taiwanese thrown in (in Tainan).
3) US management in our industry is over rated. To me, TSMC is better managed that its peers in the USA (forget about the technology for a moment). US companies are moving from one strategic plan to the next with little to show for (see intel in last 10 years or worst, GE in last 20).

Bottom line, TSMC has its work cut out. The slowdown in software companies is fortuitous and will help a great deal I am sure.
 

benb

Active member
Things I learned working at F12P4 in Hsinchu 10 years ago:
-Average fab techs are amazingly capable, and this can be humbling, and reveals a major gap with typical US techs; work that would take 10 weeks in the US takes 10 days. This is an economically differentiating thing, I suspect.
-Most techs are not TSMC, but the culture extends into the contractors
-It is miltaristic/hierarchical with very direct orders given and followed, about all sorts of things, not necessarily strictly work related
-There is a language and culture gap, but it is not that big. Whether island or mainland, most people who get to know them, love the Chinese. Watch "American Factory", that documentary captures it well.
 

mozartct

Member
@benb Agree with the above though American Factory was dealing with a Chinese firm, not a Taiwanese one. Culture definitely goes into contractors (same with Korean subs BTW).

In my time in Taiwan, I was always surprised by: 1) openness to new ideas, no matter how small 2) company-wide mission alignment. If cost cutting was the goal, then cost-cutting would come up 100% of the time and everything was examined in that light. I simply do not see that here. Small ideas are ignored and every engineer has his/her own mission that may be at 180 degrees of the person next door.

Second-sourcing is where this is most visible. TSMC leads in that area (Samsung in same position), with large impact on cost and innovation while intel and GF are far behind, probably 10 years. What takes 8-10 weeks to qualify in Taiwan can take 3 years here, if it gets done at all. Over the long haul, this makes a big difference.
 

nghanayem

Active member
Things I learned working at F12P4 in Hsinchu 10 years ago:
-Average fab techs are amazingly capable, and this can be humbling, and reveals a major gap with typical US techs; work that would take 10 weeks in the US takes 10 days. This is an economically differentiating thing, I suspect.
-Most techs are not TSMC, but the culture extends into the contractors
-It is miltaristic/hierarchical with very direct orders given and followed, about all sorts of things, not necessarily strictly work related
-There is a language and culture gap, but it is not that big. Whether island or mainland, most people who get to know them, love the Chinese. Watch "American Factory", that documentary captures it well.
I would extend these statements about the techs at my firm. They know the equipment well, and often have good insight into why tools are having issues. They are hard working and efficient, and at my firm there is a strict hierarchy (although it feels like that is more detrimental than helpful). Bigger issues is a toxic and inefficient engineering culture that seems to be getting better fast.
 

benb

Active member
The culture gap, and my hopes for the new fabs in the US:
-The culture at Samsung is a problem. It is rooted in the incentives of a rank and grade performance culture, which incents lack of cooperation, hoarding information, and even sabotage. To succeed at Samsung, your coworkers must fail. If it doesn't change, Taylor will fail, simple as that.
-TSMC US employees will need to bow to the demonstrated superiority of the TSMC culture. That is hard to do. In American Factory, the mainlander managers refer to the US employees as donkeys. Somehow this has to be bridged, with some give and take, in the context of USA #2, USA #2.

So there is risk, and a lot of work to be done. Samsung has a significant advantage, in my view. They have 25 years of exposure to the US. However, the Samsung cultural change that is needed is global, and thus much harder.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
The next generation of autonomous vehicles by Tesla will use automotive chips from TSMC N5/4 fabs and Tesla will become a high volume customer in 2023. This will be the first time a TSMC top 10 customer is a full electric car manufacturer and to avoid geopolitical issues TSMC will manufacture Telsa chips in the AZ fabs.
 
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