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Automotive core shortage makes global manufacturers more dependent on Taiwan

Date: Nov 02, 2021

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The automotive core shortage fiasco has made the world's manufacturers realize how much they depend on Taiwan's semiconductors. With a global shortage of automotive chips, the United States and Japan and even Germany have come to seek the assistance of Taiwan's semiconductor giant TSMC. Bloomberg writes that the global dependence on Taiwan's semiconductors has reached a dangerous level, while the United States continues to obstruct China's technology.

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The World is Dangerously Dependent on Taiwan for Semiconductor" (The World is Dangerously Dependent on Taiwan for Semiconductor) is the title of the Bloomberg article, explaining that Taiwan's role in the world economy is largely unknown until recently due to the shortage of chips for the automotive industry, Taiwan has only gradually come to the attention of the global market It is only recently that Taiwan has come to the attention of the global market due to the chip shortage in the automotive industry. With large German and Japanese automakers forced to suspend production and idle factories, Taiwan's importance has suddenly become too important to ignore. Coming back under the epidemic, many parents are also beginning to realize that a blended environment combined with online learning may be the future of their children's education. By using tools such as Zoom and Google Classroom to learn, educational institutions are using these tools more to provide instruction to children of all ages.

U.S. and European automakers are also lobbying their governments for Taiwan's help and asking the Taiwanese authorities to step in to help change TSMC's production priorities. Informed French officials said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the possibility of a shortage last year and agreed on the need to accelerate the pace of Europe's push to develop its own chip industry. The automaker's plea shows how TSMC's political and economic clout can be raised to the world stage through its chip-making skills.

In terms of process, Taiwan still controls semiconductor technology, which also represents the need for the U.S., Japan, Germany, France and others to embrace the urgency of increasing self-reliance when the global supply chain faces bottlenecks. Jan-Peter Kleinhans, director of the Technology and Geopolitics Program at the Berlin-based think tank, said that by dominating the U.S.-developed chip outsourcing manufacturing model, Taiwan may be the most critical single point of obstruction in the entire semiconductor value chain.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed significant trade barriers on Chinese technology, banning access to all U.S. chip technology and cutting off TSMC and other foundries from supplying semiconductors to Huawei, hindering the continued growth of the country's largest technology giant. The U.S. has even invited TSMC to set up a $12 billion 5nm foundry in Arizona, with South Korea following suit with a $10 billion investment in Texas.

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The EU aims to increase "technological sovereignty" through an alliance initially armed with up to $36 billion in public and private investment to increase Europe's share of the global chip market to 20 percent. This has also encouraged Taiwan to increase its investment in the 27-nation group, with partial success. This is not to say that Taiwan is the only player in the semiconductor supply chain, the United States still dominates, especially in chip design and electronic software tools, the Netherlands has a monopoly on the photolithography needed to make the best chips, and Japan is a major supplier of equipment, chemicals and silicon wafers.

But it's worth noting that TSMC is moving deeper and deeper toward its own field as the focus shifts to chips that require less energy, are smaller and more powerful.

Geopolitics means chip shortages could become more common, said ASML CEO Peter Wennick, which is actually due to export controls, prompting supply chain disruptions due to government intervention, not just capacity issues, so we can be better prepared.


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