Economy: The semiconductor struggle in Taiwan, a question of power

Economy: The semiconductor struggle in Taiwan, a question of power

Published on 08/14/2022 22:03

France 2 articles written byAfghanistan the country hit by an unprecedented famine

V.Frédéric, A.Bouville, B.Bervas – France 2

France TV

Against the backdrop of tensions in Taiwan, an economic battle is also unfolding: China is blocking the manufacture of semiconductors, electronic chips essential to phones and computers. However, Taiwan concentrates nearly 60% of world production.

Semiconductors are indispensable in cars and airplanes and are present in computers and smartphones. Will these microchips soon be untraceable? The threat looms after renewed tensions between China and Taiwan. The island is indeed a giant in the semiconductor sector. It alone accounts for 59% of the market, compared to 12% for the United States and 10% for Europe. US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan could change everything. His arrival angered Beijing, which considers Taiwan a Chinese province.

Since then, China has multiplied violent demonstrations. The escalation prompted the world market leader for semiconductors, the Taiwanese company TSMC, to react. “No one can control TSMC by force. In the event of a military attack or invasion, our factories will have to shut down production,” said company president Mark Liu.

Before an open conflict, production is already subject to Chinese sanctions. Beijing has stopped exporting sand to Taiwan, an essential material for making silicon, which in turn is essential for making electronic chips. In response to the bottlenecks of the post-Covid recovery, the United States has launched a massive plan to relocate manufacturing, as has Europe and France.