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TSMC swiftly recovers chip production one day after Taiwan earthquake

TSMC sign

Following Taiwan's earthquake, Apple chip partner TSMC has started up its production lines in the territory, minimizing the downtime for this aspect of Apple's supply chain.

On Wednesday, Taiwan suffered a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that killed at least nine people and injured over 800 residents. The seismic event caused destruction of buildings and infrastructure, and for a moment, halted industry in general.

As part of its safety systems, Apple chip supplier TSMC halted production on a number of its manufacturing lines and evacuated employees from some of its fabs. While some were initially allowed back to work, the company's in a much better state one day later.

Less than 10 hours after the earthquake occurred, TSMC brought back online between 70% and 80% of its machinery, reports Bloomberg.

"There is no damage to our critical tools including all of our extreme ultraviolet lithography tools," TSMC revealed in a statement late on Wednesday. The tools mentioned are used in the production of some of TSMC's smallest processes, as used for Apple's and Nvidia's chips.

The facilities weren't entirely unscathed, as a small number of tools were still damaged at some locations. Even so, TSMC says it is working to reach a full recovery as soon as possible.

There have been some fears that an earthquake in Taiwan could be highly damaging to the global computing industry, due to the sheer number of chips produced there. It's not clear if existing production was disrupted, as production takes uninterrupted time and power over days or weeks, depending on the chip.

Analysts at Barclays writing shortly after the earthquake believed that any stalling could cause problems for processes that require weeks of seclusion in a vacuum. Later, Citigroup optimistically said the event should be "manageable" for TSMC, with Jefferies also expecting "limited" effects.