Report Wire - Why Taiwan’s chips may very well be on the centre of rising US-China rigidity

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Why Taiwan’s chips may very well be on the centre of rising US-China rigidity

3 min read

Despite open threats from China, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew to become the highest-profile elected American official to go to Taiwan in 25 years, triggering a diplomatic showdown and prompting China to announce navy workouts across the island and warn that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”

China considers Taiwan its territory and has not dominated out the attainable use of drive for a “reunification.” China has been placing diplomatic stress on different nations to not recognise Taiwan. Or to do something that will indicate recognition. For China, Pelosi’s go to does that.

While many causes are being attributed to the rising US-China rigidity, logic chips made in Taiwan appear to be on the centre of it. These chips energy a lot of the world’s daily-use digital tools, similar to laptops, watches and video games consoles.

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The US, different western nations and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) have been anxious concerning the eventualities if China goes for an invasion and cuts off provides of chips which are essential to the worldwide financial system. TSMC has plans to construct foundries in Japan and the US. But that won’t suffice.

America’s posturing by means of Pelosi’s go to has quite a bit to do with this fear. On Wednesday, the US mentioned it wouldn’t abandon Taiwan. As a part of her Taiwan go to, Pelosi was additionally to satisfy TSMC officers.


This is primarily as a result of Taiwan is, by advantage of TSMC, one of many key producers of logic chips.

-All processors that energy Apple iPhone and MacBooks are fabricated in Taiwan by TSMC.

-TSMC-made chips are utilized in virtually 60 per cent of smartphones.

-TSMC fabricates virtually the entire graphics and general-purpose pc processors made by AMD (a US firm) plus virtually half of what Nvidia makes.

-TSMC additionally fabricates a lot of the chips made by Qualcomm (a US firm) and MediaTek (a Taiwanese firm). Almost 100 per cent of Android smartphones use chips made by Qualcomm and MediaTek.


-If there’s a disruption in TSMC’s operations, the world might find yourself dropping provide of round 60 to 70 per cent of telephone and pc chips.

-Apart from TSMC, solely Intel, Samsung — and as much as an extent Global Foundries — possess cutting-edge silicon chip manufacturing processes.

-United Microelectronics Corporation is one other Taiwanese foundry making silicon chips. However, together with SMIC (which is China-based), UMC is extra into manufacturing silicon chips that aren’t cutting-edge and are meant for use in sensible home equipment, cameras, printers, automobiles and autos, or in parts like storage disks.


The US is more and more trying to scale back its dependence on Taiwan for silicon chips. It is encouraging TSMC to arrange foundries within the US, in addition to is pushing Intel to speculate extra in chip manufacturing.

At the identical time, China is attempting to prop up SMIC as a key foundry that will assist China keep away from the worst in case TSMC stops supplying chips to Chinese firms. However, the important thing applied sciences that energy a foundry are within the fingers of Western firms — ASML of Netherlands, for instance — and Japanese companies like Nikon. The silicon chip designing is nearly solely within the fingers of US and British firms like Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Apple and ARM.

The US just lately banned ASML from promoting tools to Chinese firms. In different phrases, China depends on TSMC and Taiwan as a lot for its silicon chip provide because the US.

ALSO READ | US gained’t abandon Taiwan, says Pelosi as indignant China holds navy drills in protest

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