Taiwan plays a growing essential role in the global artificial intelligence (AI) supply chain, from upstream chip design, foundries and chip assembly to downstream AI-enabled servers and computers, indicating that the country could duplicate its success in the high-technology sector, where it supplies 80 percent of the world’s PCs and feeds 90 percent of the data center market globally.
With voracious appetites for AI-related applications, this trend is becoming more marked, reflected in the increasing frequency of visits by leaders of the world’s most prominent technology companies.
Micron Technology Inc CEO Sanjay Mehrotra arrived in Taichung on Monday last week to attend the opening ceremony for the US’ biggest memorychip maker’s new fab with 3D packaging and testing capacities to enable production of Micron’s most advanced, high-bandwidth HBM3E memory chips, used mainly in AI devices, data centers, and edge computing and cloud applications. Taiwan is already a major manufacturing hub for Micron, manufacturing 60 percent of the firm’s total shipped DRAM chips.
Intel Corp CEO Pat Gelsinger came to Taipei the next day, his second trip to Taiwan this year. Gelsinger showcased new processors for AI PCs in collaboration with its local partners Asustek Computer Inc, Acer Inc and Quanta Computer Inc, during the chipmaker’s annual Intel Innovation event in Taipei.
Finally, Nvidia Corp CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) showed up in Taipei unexpectedly on Friday last week and attended KT Li Foundation’s awarding of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) for his contribution to the nation’s high-tech and economic development. The media reported that Huang was also here to ensure smooth shipments of the company’s new, but less powerful AI graphics processing units (GPU), aimed at the Chinese market to comply with Washington’s restrictions on semiconductor exports to China
With Nvidia’s GPU computing, the company realized that AI has started an industrial revolution that might be even greater than the PC, mobile devices and the Internet, Huang said during his award ceremony speech. Nvidia would not be possible without TSMC, he added.
The three CEOs share common ground in that they are here to strengthen partnerships with Taiwan’s AI sector. Taiwanese companies design AI chips for the world’s major cloud service providers such as Amazon, who are racing to build AI capacities to provide differentiated services, yet lack chip development capabilities. Alchip Technologies Ltd is one of a few local semiconductor companies offering application-specific ICs (ASIC) designing services with an expertise in AI chip design. AI startup Kneron Inc develops neural processing units that power AI edge devices. Taiwan Web Service Corp offers tailor-made AI algorithm capabilities and large-language-model training services, targeting budget-sensitive small and medium-sized businesses.
Since Taiwanese companies have deployed such an extensive AI industry network, it is easy to imagine that those AI companies could evolve into a major growth driver for the manufacturing industry. It is also easy to imagine them gradually becoming the successor to the semiconductor companies as the county’s new “cash cow.”
According to the Industrial Technology Research Institute’s (ITRI) forecast, global AI semiconductor production value is expected to surge to US$111.55 billion in 2027, up from US$51.26 billion this year. AI chips are expected to constitute a larger portion of the overall semiconductor production value at 14.8 percent by 2027, up from 9.6 percent this year, ITRI said.
Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr in a letter to an unnamed US senator on Feb. 9 said that China has offered to “fill every hotel room,” in Palau, “and more if more are built” if the small island nation were to break ties with Taiwan. The letter further claims that China offered US$20 million per year for the creation of a “call center” in Palau, a nation whose economy relies heavily on tourism. It is more evidence that for China, tourism is an economic tool for its political gain. Cleo Paskal, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, posted
Due to enduring the Kafkaesque situation of having two accidents in 30 minutes, one involving an accident with an ambulance, I would like to share my personal experience. Both cases show the loopholes of Taiwanese law, which is a driving factor for the terrible traffic conditions in the nation. I was driving my scooter on the main road in Taoyuan’s Yangmei District (楊梅). Despite there being no cars behind me, a young man in an old car made a sudden left turn and I bumped into his vehicle. At first, the man tried to run away, but was blocked by other
It has been a year since China relaxed the “zero COVID-19” measures that had been stifling economic activity, but the country has yet to experience the rebound that policymakers and pundits anticipated. Instead, economic indicators from last year have painted a disheartening picture. The fallout from the massive property developer Evergrande’s 2021 collapse is far from over, and the sector continues to struggle, even after the Chinese government relaxed purchasing restrictions in cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai. China’s financial health has also declined as local government debt has snowballed, leading Moody’s to downgrade the country’s credit outlook in December last year.
Beijing’s diplomatic offensive highlighted by Lin Tzu-Yao (林子堯) and Cathy Fang in a recent op-ed (“Beijing’s new diplomatic offensive,” Feb. 7, page 8) is nothing new, as were the authors’ unwarranted smears on Taiwan’s major opposition party. They peculiarly meshed together a wide array of talking points to try to put an innocent face on president-elect William Lai (賴清德), concealed behind the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) failure to manage cross-strait relations and ties with diplomatic allies. They also attempted to discredit anyone who dares to oppose the DPP’s imagination-based politics. It was most unfortunate that the authors deliberately misconstrued parts of Taiwanese