Mobile World Live brings you our top three picks of the week with the US supporting a new TSMC fabrication plant with generous subsidies, Axiata closing its tower unit in Myanmar, and Nvidia and Amazon supporting university AI research.

TSMC scores $6.6B to up US chip production

What happened: The US Department of Commerce revealed plans to award Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co $6.6 billion in direct funding and up to $5 billion in loans to build a third chip production facility.

Why it matters: The announcement clearly demonstrates TSMC’s long-term commitment to manufacturing in the US, despite hiccups at an Arizona fab under construction. The move, following a similar deal for Intel, also shows the Biden administration is cranking up efforts to revitalise domestic chipmaking with generous subsidies. 

Why is KDDI staying and Axiata exiting Myanmar?

What happened: Axiata Group agreed to sell its Myanmar tower unit to a local company, following an exit by Norway-headquartered Telenor in 2022, though Japanese operator KDDI decided to continue to operate a joint venture with state-owned MPT. 

Why it matters: Axiata blamed its departure on deteriorating macroeconomics and operating environments, the same reasons Telenor exited. KDDI said it recognised the contribution it can make by remaining, highlighting maintaining networks is important in terms of respecting human rights. Days later KDDI downgraded its profit forecast after its local subsidiary booked a loss of $686.8 million.

Nvidia, Amazon pump millions into uni AI research collab

What happened: Nvidia and Amazon committed to fund a partnership between the Japan-based University of Tsukuba and University of Washington in the US covering various aspects of AI.

Why it matters: Each company committed $25 million, with the tie-up spanning ten years. University of Tsukuba president Nagata Kyosuke said the partnership will strengthen existing semiconductor research in the two countries. The funds are part of a $110 million initiative supported by US and Japanese tech companies and universities to advance AI.