TSMC founder warns ‘on-shoring’ chip manufacturing could backfire
Chang was speaking to reporters while attending an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference as Taiwan’s envoy. “What may happen is that after hundreds of billions and many years have been spent, the result will still be a not-quite-self-sufficient and a high-cost supply chain,” Nikkei reported Chang as saying.
The Chinese government has been seeking to build up its independence in semiconductors for many years although one of its instruments of change Tsinghua Unigroup has effectively gone bust recently owing billions of dollars (see Tsinghua Unigroup creditors call for restructure).
The US, Japan and Europe have all been alerted to the risk of depending on a globalized chip supply chain over the last nine months as chip shortages have caused slow downs and shut downs at numerous factories. As the politicians belatedly recognize how dependent national economies are on semiconductors they are trying to pressure commercial companies to build domestic plants (see TSMC U-turn; considers building German, Japanese wafer fabs and Intel in talks with Bavaria over wafer fab location).
Chang agreed that chips that are vital to national security should be made domestically. But Chang is apparently defining national security narrowly to effectively embody defense and weapons systems and key communications. “It will make more sense that all the other civilian-use semiconductors should be traded freely internationally,” Nikkei reported Chang saying.
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TSMC U-turn; considers building German, Japanese wafer fabs