Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), a major chipmaker to Apple Inc and Huawei Technologies Co (華為), has hired a new lobbyist in Washington to help stave off the effects of deteriorating US-Chinese relations on its business.
Former US Chamber of Commerce executive Nicholas Montella joined the Taiwanese company in May as its director of government relations, just months after Intel Corp’s former top lobbyist Peter Cleveland became TSMC’s vice president for global policy.
The company has confirmed the appointment of Montella, who previously focused on Japan, Korea and APEC policy, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The world’s biggest contract chipmaker joins a growing number of companies with business links to China, including Huawei, that are increasing their lobbying activities in the US and looking to gauge and lessen the effects from Washington’s ongoing dispute with Beijing.
The stakes for TSMC became even higher earlier this month when a new round of US curbs thrust it into the heart of tensions over Huawei.
Under the rules from the US Department of Commerce, TSMC would need to apply for waivers from Washington for future orders from Huawei.
Chinese tech giant Huawei is TSMC’s largest customer after Apple, according to Bloomberg supply-chain data, contributing about 14 percent of the chipmaker’s revenue.
The US Department of Commerce announcement came hours after TSMC said that it would build a US$12 billion plant for advanced 5-nanometer chips in Arizona, a decision designed to allay US national security concerns and shift more high-tech manufacturing to the US.
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