The chip industry in Taiwan has been called its “silicon shield” because the world needs the support of Taiwan’s high-tech industry and would not let a war break out in the region, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) said in an interview with a US television show host.
Speaking to CBS’ 60 Minutes host Lesley Stahl, Liu said that as a critical link in the global semiconductor supply chain, Taiwan’s chip industry is dubbed the “silicon shield” for a reason.
“That means the world all needs Taiwan’s high-tech industry support. So they will not let the war happen in this region because it goes against [the] interest of every country in the world,” he said in the interview, which aired on Sunday.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
However, Liu would not comment if the chip industry is indeed keeping Taiwan safe, with some foreign experts saying that TSMC and other Taiwanese chipmakers are one of the reasons the West needs to help defend the country in the event of conflict with China.
“I cannot comment on the safety. I mean, this is a changing world. Nobody wants these things to happen. And I hope — I hope not, too — either,” he said.
Asked about US concerns that most chips are made in Asia amid an ongoing global shortage of automobile chips, Liu said that he understood such worries, but said that the main issue is not where the chips are being made.
“The shortage will happen no matter where the production is located because it’s due to COVID,” he said, referring to the pandemic.
Asked about US attempts to rebalance the supply chain, Liu said that instead of trying to move the supply chain, the US should invest in research and development to produce “more Ph.D., master and bachelor students” in the manufacturing field.
Liu said that TSMC expects to meet the minimum requirements of its auto customers before the end of next month.
However, that does not mean the auto chip shortage would end in two months, as the supply chain is long and complex, and that would take about seven to eight months, Liu said.
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