TSMC agrees to work with US on chip data, risks angering China

October 26, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
TSMC agrees to work with US on chip data, risks angering China
A statement from foundry TSMC that it will "respond" to US requests for chip data about inventory and customers is raising concerns in some quarters, according to reports.

The move has raised alarm bells in China where there is concern that Washington will use confidential data to more precisely target Chinese enterprises that rely on the import of leading-edge silicon, according to a South China Morning Post report.

Apparently TSMC has now agreed to submit data after previously saying it couldn’t because of its confidential nature. TSMC has followed in the footsteps of a number of other chip companies including Intel, Infineon and SK Hynix who have now agreed to submit data ahead of a November 8 deadline set by the US Department of Commerce. This is increasing the pressure on other major chip companies – such as Samsung Electronics – that are yet to agree, the reports said.

Back in September the Department of Commerce said that in attempt to understand the prolonged semiconductor supply chain shortage it wanted chip manufacturers to supply information about sales, inventory and clients.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that submission was voluntary and "will give us more information about the supply chain, and the goal is to increase transparency so we can try to identify where the bottlenecks (are) and then predict challenges."

However, Raimondo warned that if companies did not answer the request voluntarily, "then we have other tools in our tool box that require them to give us data. I hope we don't get there. But if we have to we will."

The move is being seen by some, not as an attempt to help the semiconductor industry, but as the latest in a series of moves to re-establish the United States' leading position in semiconductors before other regions – specifically China – overtake it and gain autonomy.

Next: China needs TSMC, Samsung

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