As the world courts TSMC, Taiwan worries about losing its 'silicon shield'

As the world courts TSMC, Taiwan worries about losing its 'silicon shield'

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Key Facts

  • Hong Kong CNN — Semiconductor giant TSMC was feted this week by US President Joe Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook during a ceremony to unveil its $40 billion manufacturing site in Arizona — a huge investment designed to help secure America’s supply of the most advanced chips.
  • Apart from the risk that TSMC will take its most advanced technology with it — stripping Taiwan of one of its unique assets and reducing employment opportunities locally — there are fears that a diminished presence for the company could expose Taipei to greater pressure from Beijing, which has vowed to take control of the self-ruled island, by force if necessary.
  • Patrick Chen, the Taipei-based head of research at CL Securities Taiwan, said there was a common concern on the island about TSMC’s growing international importance, the pressure it is facing to expand, and what that means for Taiwan.
  • “TSMC’s decision to expand its Arizona investment is evidence that politics and geopolitical risks will play a bigger role than previously in supply chain decisions,” said Chris Miller, author of “Chip War: the Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology”.

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