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Commentary: Taiwan dominates the world’s supply of computer chips – no wonder the US is worried

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NOTTINGHAM, England: One side of Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan that has been largely neglected is her assembly with Mark Lui, chairman of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC).

Pelosi’s journey coincided with US efforts to persuade TSMC – the world’s largest chip producer, on which the US is closely dependent – to ascertain a producing base in the US and to cease making superior chips for Chinese firms.

US assist for Taiwan has traditionally been based mostly on Washington’s opposition to communist rule in Beijing, and Taiwan’s resistance to absorption by China. But lately, Taiwan’s autonomy has turn out to be an important geopolitical curiosity for the US as a result of of the island’s dominance of the semiconductor manufacturing market.

Semiconductors – also referred to as computer chips or simply chips – are integral to all the networked units which have turn out to be embedded into our lives. They even have superior navy functions.

Transformational, super-fast 5G Internet emerged is enabling a world of related units of all kinds (the Internet of Things) and a brand new technology of networked weapons. With this in thoughts, US officers started to grasp throughout the Trump administration that US semiconductor design firms, reminiscent of Intel, have been closely depending on Asian-based supply chains for the manufacturing of their merchandise.

In explicit, Taiwan’s place in the world of semiconductor manufacturing is a bit like Saudi Arabia’s standing in OPEC. TSMC has a 53 per cent market share of the international foundry market (factories contracted to make chips designed in different international locations). Other Taiwan-based producers declare an extra 10 per cent of the market.


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