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Inside Taiwan`s Secretive Microchip Factory That Powers the World Economy; Behind the Remarkable Rise of the Savannah Bananas. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 01, 2024 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to CNN 10, where we tell you the what, letting you decide what to think. I`m Coy. Hope you`re off to a

magnificent Monday, that you had a wonderful holiday weekend. We`re so happy to be right back here with you.

Let`s start today talking about electronics. Last week, we explored the growing challenge of e-waste, as there`s a major effort underway to find

new ways to manage all of the growing piles of electronic device garbage and leftovers.

But that was only part of the story, because at the very same time, the demand for computer chips continues to rise, and there`s one company making

more of them than anyone else.

Located in Taiwan, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is one of the world`s most secretive tech companies. CNN`s Will Ripley recently

gained rare access to the training facility to uncover what it takes to work there, and how they create these modern-day chips that run our

smartphones, laptops, and cars. And TMSC is expanding its operations as demand for its advanced chips continues to boom.

CNN`s Will Ripley has more.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Taiwan`s epicenter of technological revolution, where precision meets

innovation, and tiny chips power big dreams.

This is TSMC, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, commanding more than 50% of the global market, producing more than 90% of the world`s most

advanced chips.

RIPLEY: To say it`s difficult to gain access to Taiwan`s Semiconductor Manufacturing Company would be the understatement of the year or maybe two

years, because that`s about how long it`s taken my team and I to get permission to come here. Behind these walls, some of the world`s most

advanced, highly secretive technology. It`s so secret you have to check your phone, your laptop, anything that emits a signal just to walk through

the door.

RIPLEY (voice-over): As demand for A.I. driven technologies soars, TSMC is the go-to global manufacturer, sending stocks skyrocketing.

The company`s workforce, 77,000 strong and growing, a far cry from its humble beginnings in 1987, says the senior vice president of human

resources, Laura Ho.

What is it like to run H.R. for what is arguably the most important company in the world right now?

LAURA HO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES, TSMC: I think now H.R. is very different than the H.R. then, because we are fast expanding our

global footprint.

RIPLEY (voice-over): TSMC says it needs to hire thousands of new employees over the next few years to fill chip factories or fabs under construction

right now across Taiwan and around the world.

Last month, TSMC opened its first fab in Kumamoto, Japan, with the help of billions of dollars in government subsidies. They`re also building new fabs

in Dresden, Germany and Phoenix, Arizona.

RIPLEY: What`s the most challenging location where you`re trying to build a factory right now?

HO: I think Arizona is more difficult. Regulations and the culture is different. We have to adjust to local culture and different employees.

RIPLEY: Why the decision to do the more advanced technology in Arizona?

HO: Our leading-edge customers are mostly American companies. So to serve their need in their home country, that`s the objective.

RIPLEY (voice-over): That Arizona fab is facing chronic delays. The price tag skyrocketing. Making chips outside of Taiwan and making them profitable

will likely require huge government subsidies.

KRISTY HSU, DIRECTOR OF TAIWAN ASEAN STUDIES CENTER: They estimated the cost in the U.S. compared with Taiwan is about 40 percent more expensive.

But right now, because of the inflation, all these kind of issues right now, they think it`s probably two times or three times more expensive.

RIPLEY (voice-over): TSMC`s overseas expansion must overcome massive hurdles. An expansion world leaders say is necessary to protect the global

chip supply chain from potentially disastrous disruptions. We got a taste of that during the pandemic. Months long waits for new phones, laptops and

other tech. Any major disruption could mean waiting years for cutting edge tech.

Taiwan is a volcanic island prone to earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters.

HO: This earthquake, for example, earthquake, I think all our engineers need to go back to the company soon. Doesn`t matter what time it is. If

it`s midnight, they will come back.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Perhaps the biggest threat to TSMC`s supply chain, also one of its biggest customers, rising tensions with China. The

company`s stock is surging anyway, as other nations scramble to catch up with Taiwan.

HO: I don`t think it would take away the strength. Because we are still very highly concentrated in Taiwan and the most leading technology with

absolutely starting from Taiwan.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Beyond its core semiconductor business, TSMC is exploring new frontiers in advanced packaging, paving the way for enhanced

processing power and energy efficiency, pushing the boundaries of what`s possible in today`s fast-moving world of tech.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taichung, Taiwan.


WIRE: Ten second trivia. What event made baseball history in 1903?

First interleague game, first night game, first World Series, first perfect game.

Batter up, in 1903, the Boston Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first ever World Series.

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, folks. Baseball season is officially underway, and for today`s story, getting a 10 out of 10, we`re looking at a

different kind of baseball. Have you ever heard of the Savannah Bananas? They`re an exhibition baseball team that thought baseball was ripe for some

change, and they peeled back what they called the boring bites and pitched an entirely new game. It`s called Banana Ball. Our Andy Scholes is on the



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Bats on fire. Swinging a hot stick. Players on stilts. Backflip catches. The best backflip we`ve ever seen. And

dancing. Lots and lots of dancing.

The Savannah Bananas have exploded in popularity since their inception in 2016, to the point now where they are selling out major league ballparks.

JESSE COLE, SAVANNAH BANANAS OWNER: When we first started, we only sold a handful of tickets, and so we were just trying to make sure baseball or

banana ball could eventually work in Savannah. And now to see it with, you know, a wait list of over 2 million people and selling out major league

stadiums and a million fans this year, I don`t think anyone could have written this up.

SCHOLES: Bananas owner Jesse Cole and his wife Emily put everything they had into starting the Bananas with the mission to make baseball fun. They

have certainly done that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He clears Kellogg. Back up the middle. It`s a base hit.

SCHOLES: So much fun, getting a ticket to see the Savannah Bananas is as tough as a Taylor Swift concert with hundreds of thousands of people on the

wait list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is banana ball.

SCHOLES: The team now has more than 8 million followers on TikTok, and one of their stars, Jackson Olson, well, he himself has more TikTok followers

than any major league team.

JACKSON OLSON, SAVANNAH BANANAS INFIELDER: Pretty crazy. I started it for fun, and I`m still doing it for fun, and I think that`s probably a reason

why. I`ve done it every day for almost three years now, and I`m loving it more every day.

SCHOLES: So to be a banana, what`s more important? Is it being able to dance or play baseball?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really nice dance, he gets the outside corner.

CHRISTIAN DEARMAN, SAVANNAH BANANAS PITCHER: I think you got to have a great mix of both, because all these guys out here have such amazing

personalities that are outside of the box, but they also can play really well. Some of the most talented guys from all over the country, D1 level,

some ex-pros, man, we`re all coming firing, guns blazing.

COLE: These guys are tremendously skilled. I mean, many of them play professional baseball from first round draft picks to top, you know, top

recruits, and then now, they can also dance, or they can do back flips, or they can do all that, and I think that`s really important. You have to be

able to entertain. And, you know, in our company, it`s fans first entertainment. Our mission is fans first, entertain always. You got to be

able to entertain. So if you can just play ball, you might not be a great fit for us.

SCHOLES: Now, the Bananas play by their own rules, known as Banana Ball, and there are so many fun quirks, including the batter can steal first base

at any point during an event, and if a fan catches a foul ball, it`s an out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Foul, caught by a fan, and that`s your ball game.

DEARMAN: That is, it`s like the cherry on top of the cake, you know? When a fan gets to be a part of our show, actually coming onto the field, we`re

celebrating with them, because they just made one of the biggest plays of the whole game.

BILL LERO, SAVANNAH BANANAS CATCHER: As soon as this ball`s hit over the net, it`s more intense than it is when it`s hit in fair play, because we`re

like, holy cow, like a fan has a chance to catch this, the whole crowd`s zoomed in on it. It`s a special moment. It`s by far my favorite role.

SCHOLES: Now, watching the Bananas is a blast, but could I be a banana? Not even close. I`ll stick to being a fan.


WIRE: Andy, busting out the dance moves. I see you, buddy. All right, superstars, that`s all we have time for, for today.

Let`s head on over to Livingston Middle School in California for a shout- out today. How you doing, Cougars? Rise up.

And to all the senators out at Carson High School in Nevada, keep shining. Thanks for being with us. You rock.

Now, this is going to be tough. I have some news about the show. Today was my last day. I`ve loved being part of this show so much that it can`t be my

last day. Happy April Fools, everybody! My favorite holiday of the year. Keep your head on a swivel. Trust no one. See you tomorrow.

I`m Coy. And we are CNN 10.