Taiwan should join any global semiconductor supply chain alliance against China to protect its technological advantage and national security, according to Wang Che-jen (汪哲仁), an assistant research fellow at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
In a paper titled “Automotive chip shortage: A look at Taiwan’s strategic place in the semiconductor supply chain,” Wang wrote that a shortage of automotive chips has highlighted Taiwan’s strategic place in the global semiconductor industry.
The shortage shows that the supply chain for such products has become a matter of diplomatic, security and strategic concern, he added.
Photo: Ben Blanchard, Reuters
One of the ways technologically advanced nations are tackling the problem is by attracting foreign chipmakers to set up plants on their soil, Wang said.
The US and Japanese governments, for example, have invited Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to build facilities, he said.
However, Wang warned against such a move, saying that while it might help shorten global supply chains, it could also weaken Taiwan’s strategic advantage in the semiconductor industry.
“For Taiwan to maintain its ‘silicon shield,’ it needs to persuade European countries and the US that keeping TSMC in Taiwan is the best option,” he wrote.
Wang also warned that Taiwan should beware of China’s efforts to poach talent, given the latter’s goal of becoming 70 percent self-sufficient in chip production by 2025.
“Judging from experience, China’s poaching efforts will only increase,” he said.
Meanwhile, the US semiconductor industry has been urging US President Joe Biden’s administration to form a semiconductor alliance with like-minded countries to prevent technological espionage by China, he said.
The government should guide Taiwan’s technology companies to join such an alliance to protect the nation’s technological advantage and national security, Wang said.
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