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Apple supplier TSMC evacuates as earthquake hits Taiwan

There are no reports of TSMC facilities being damaged, but some domestic and office blocks were badly hit (Source; Reuters)

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has hit Taiwan, killing 9, and causing Apple processor manufacturer to temporarily halt production.

While Taiwan has had earthquakes before, this one at 8 A.M. local time on April 3, 2024, is the largest in 25 years. As well as the people killed, approximately 50 more are missing, and over 800 have been injured, according to Reuters.

The country is home to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which is a major supplier of processors to companies worldwide. Those companies most notably include Apple, for which TSMC produces all of the main processors for the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

TSMC announced that it had followed its safety systems, and halted production on an unspecified number of manufacturing lines.

"To ensure the safety of personnel, some fabs were evacuated according to company procedure," a TSMC spokesperson said in a statement. The company later said that employees had begun returning to work.

The quake hit just offshore of Hualien, which is on the opposite side of Taiwan from TSMC's headquarters and main fabrication plants. It's not clear where Reuters gets the figure of a 7.2 magnitude quake, since it also quotes the US Geological Survey saying it was 7.5, and Japan's weather agency said it was 7.7.

In recent years, TSMC has been working to build chip fabrication plants outside of Taiwan. Perhaps its largest investment is in the US, where it is working on two plants for Arizona, but it has also had approval from local government to build in Germany.