the chip industry has been struggling with the physical limit of the moore's law for a few years now, and the cost to maintaining this law has been skyrocketing lately. intel's problems at the 90nm node is probably the turning point that we'll see the progression to ever greater density substantially slowed.
the interesting thing is that the market denabd for transistors is also pretty much growing at the reverse of the moore's law --- roughly doubling every 1.5 years.
that means if the industry slows down in its progression toward 65nm then 45nm, etc. the demand would force the increase of the wafer surface (surface area production). if the moore's law has finally came to its physical limit, then the industry would have to double the output of wafer surface or double the number of fabs, if the market demand maintains the same trend since 3 decades ago.
since it's pretty clear that the cost of maintaining moore's law has been skyrocketing, all the MPU companies have been scrambling to deliver multi-core solutions --- move the bet from fab process development to architecture development.
no matter what the outcome, fab demand will skyrocket, and fab industry will be on the ascendancy.
the dominant players in the fab industry are TSMC in technology, and SMIC in cost. but SMIC's stock has already priced in the growth projection for the next two years.
>>What technologies does TSMC have that $1B cannot solve? How much does TSMC spend on labor and how much can SMIC save?
Frankly, I believe you seriously underestimate the value of the trained workforce infrastructure operating the existing fabrications facilities. A $1billion barrier to entry is significant and the quality of product without years of experience in chip fab would be poor. One could easily state that anyone can put Walmart out of business with a few bucks to buy some empty Kmarts ... but Walmart competition is the reason for those empty Kmarts.
Your analysis of the political situation would be more useful if you used no jargon. I would welcome insight into this area.